Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange futures slumped Thursday on stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data. The most active gold contract for August delivery fell 14.2 dollars, or 1.02 percent, to settle at 1,377.8 dollars per ounce. Overall risk appetite improved after data showed retail sales rose more than expected in May and first-time applications for jobless benefits fell last week, suggesting resilience in the U.S. economy. Signs that the U.S. economy remains on a growth track are likely to bolster the view that the U.S. Federal Reserve in the coming months will slow the pace of its bond purchases, according to market analysts. Gold prices are down nearly 17 percent this year, hurt by expectations that the asset-buying program will wind down. The U.S. Labor Department said that the number of people applying for first-time jobless benefits fell to 334,000 in the week ended June 8, the lowest level since early May, pointing to a slower pace of layoffs. Meanwhile, May retail sales rose at the fastest rate in three months, turning in a 0.6 percent monthly rise versus forecasts for a 0.5 percent increase. Silver for July delivery fell 21.3 cents, or 0.98 percent, to close at 21.583 dollars per ounce.