Gold prices extended their record rally on Monday, supported by speculative buying and continued tensions in the Middle East, which overshadowed strong U.S. job growth in March.

Spot gold was up 0.6% at $2,343.89 per ounce as of 0406 GMT, after hitting a record high of $2,353.79 earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures gained 0.7% to $2,361.09.

"If you look at futures pricing, we're seeing indications now that there's a bit of momentum chasing in the an extent we're seeing a little bit of excessive optimism about the outlook for gold at the current level," said Kyle Rodda, a financial market analyst at

Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East could be another driving force for gold, Rodda added.

Strong central bank buying, safe-haven inflows amid elevated geopolitical risks, and demand from momentum-following funds have fuelled bullion's 12% gain so far this year.

U.S. job growth blew past expectations in March, suggesting the economy ended the first quarter on solid ground and potentially delaying anticipated Federal Reserve interest rate cuts this year.

Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding bullion.

"The market looks like it wants to test $2,400, and with no evidence of a top forming - it just might make it," said City Index senior analyst Matt Simpson.

"But at some point I expect to see some bearish volatility shake out some bulls from these highs, as the higher it goes the more tempting it becomes for some larger pockets to book a profit."

Meanwhile, on the physical side, gold demand in India remained tepid last week as a blistering rally in domestic prices put off buyers, while premiums held firm in top consumer China.

Spot silver was up 1.4% to $27.85 per ounce, platinum edged 0.1% higher at $928.11 and palladium gained 0.4% at $1,006.88.

(Reporting by Sherin Elizabeth Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K)