Gold ekes out small gain, other metals hold steady

AP News
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Posted: Nov 20, 2009 4:52 PM

Gold prices finished higher for a sixth straight day Friday, rising even as the dollar strengthened.

The December contract added $4.90 to settle at $1,146.80 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, prices gained 2.7 percent.

Gold has been on a record-setting climb since early September as investors looked for an alternative investment to a falling dollar. Gold is considered a good hedge against a weak greenback because of its stable store of value.

The dollar, however, has shown some strength in recent days. On Friday, the ICE Futures US dollar index, a widely used measure of the dollar against other currencies, rose for a second day in a row, gaining 0.4 percent in afternoon trading.

As investors grow more cautious over the sustainability of the economy's recovery, they have begun to shift money out of risker assets like stocks and commodities and back into safe-haven investments like the dollar and Treasurys. Gold is also considered a safe-haven asset, so prices have held up amid the dollar's strength.

"When the dollar rebounds, I don't think it's a safe assumption that everyone will run from gold," said Jason Toussaint, managing director of investment at the World Gold Council. There are investors who are holding gold "for preservation purposes," he said.

Some analysts have expressed concern that gold could see a sharp correction after such a rapid ascent. But the consensus seems to be that gold prices have more room to run.

"We still expect to see attempts at higher levels," said Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco Metals Inc. in a research note Friday.

Other metals were little changed. December silver dipped 1.5 cents to $18.44 an ounce, while December platinum slid $2 to $1,438.70 an ounce. Palladium also fell.

March copper futures rose 2.8 cents to $3.134 a pound.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, oil prices fell. Light, sweet crude for December delivery lost 74 cents to settle at $76.72 a barrel on the last trading day for the contract. The January contract fell 58 cents to settle at $77.47 a barrel.

Heating oil fell 2.08 cents to settle at $1.9756 a gallon, while gasoline for December delivery added 1.11 cents to $1.9806 a gallon.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, March wheat futures slipped 3.25 cents to $5.8075 a bushel, while March corn fell 3.75 cents to $4.07 a bushel.

January soybeans rose 7 cents to $10.46 a bushel.

Among other soft commodities, December coffee futures fell 0.45 cent to $1.346 a pound, while January sugar gave up 0.30 cent to 21.90 cents a pound.