Gold futures fell sharply ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday afternoon, as optimistic U.S. employment data bolstered hawkish arguments for an interest rate hike by the U.S. central bank. On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for December delivery traded in a broad range between $1,111.00 and $1,127.70 an ounce, before settling at $1,114.20, down $12.60 or 1.13% on the session. At one point, gold fell to its lowest level in two weeks, dropping below $1,115 an ounce for the first time since September 16. Gold has now closed lower in three straight sessions and four of the last five. For the month of September, the precious metal lost more than 1.5% in value. Gold likely gained support at $1,098.20, the low from Sept. 11 and was met with resistance at $1,155.90, the high from Sept. 24. On Wednesday morning, payroll processing firm ADP said U.S. non-farm private employment rose by 200,000 in September, above analysts’ expectations of a 190,000 gain. In August, the economy added only 186,000 non-farm private positions, a figure that was downwardly revised from a previous total of 190,000. By comparison, though, the initial government report only showed a spike of 140,000 jobs last month. The reading provides optimism for Friday’s highly-anticipated national employment report, one which is expected to be closely watched by the Fed. Earlier this month, the Federal Open Market Committee indicated that it wanted to see further improvement in the labor market before it rose its benchmark Federal Funds Rate for the first time in nearly a decade. Yellen could offer further hints on the FOMC’s decision on Wednesday afternoon when she delivers the opening remarks at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Community Banking Conference.