Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped sharply Friday on better- than-expected U.S. jobs data, ending the week with a loss of 0.9 percent. The most active gold contract for August delivery lost 39.2 dollars, or 3.13 percent, to settle at 1,212.7 dollars per ounce. The U.S. Labor Department data released Friday showed that the U.S. added 195,000 new jobs in June, higher than the 155,000 job increase expected by economists. The upbeat data pushed up dollar and the U.S. equities while triggering expectations for an early withdrawal from the quantitative easing policy by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Several economists even predict that the central bank will begin slowing its bond purchases in September, instead of later in the year. Nevertheless, market analysts also pointed out some factors that may be a boost to gold in the near future, namely, the tense and unstable situation in Egypt; the safe-haven demand for gold from the Middle East and the North Africa; the debt woes in the eurozone; and the potential demand from China if gold prices drop to 1,200 dollars per ounce. Silver for September delivery plummeted 96.4 cents, or 4.89 percent, to close at 18.736 dollars per ounce. Platinum for October delivery dropped 20.4 dollars, or 1.51 percent, to close at 1,326.4 dollars per ounce.