Gold prices fall as investors take profits

AP News
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Posted: Aug 23, 2011 3:48 PM
Gold prices fall as investors take profits

Gold fell after six days of gains Tuesday as investors moved money back into stocks.

Investors have been putting money into gold because of concerns about the slowing global economy and wild swings in stock indexes. The precious metal is often used as a hedge against losses in other assets.

A second day of higher stock prices prompted some profit-taking in gold, Kingsview Financial analyst Matt Zeman said. "I think that gold remains a 'buy the dips' market," Zeman said.

Zeman believes a "sizable correction" is coming at some point for gold, but speculated that the price could reach $2,000 an ounce before any correction occurs.

Many investors are awaiting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech Friday at the Fed's annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo., on Friday.

At last year's retreat, Bernanke first mentioned the possibility of buying Treasury bonds to spur U.S. economic growth. The $600 billion program, which ended in June, helped drive commodity prices higher as the dollar weakened against other currencies.

Gold for December delivery fell $30.60 to finish at $1,861.30 an ounce. It went as high as $1,917.90 an ounce earlier. It was the first time gold's price went that high. Adjusted for inflation, gold is still below the peak it reached in 1980.

September silver fell $1.034 to $42.291 an ounce, October platinum fell $25.60 to $1,880.10 an ounce and September palladium fell 70 cents to $764.40 an ounce.

Copper and energy prices rose following news on manufacturing in China and Europe that was better than analysts had expected.

Markit's composite purchasing managers index for nations that use the euro currency was unchanged at 51.1 in August. That indicated stagnation in manufacturing, and hardly any growth in services, but the result was still better than Capital Economics economists had forecast.

The preliminary HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index was 49.8 in August, compared with 49.3 in July.

China is a huge importer of commodities. Copper demand remains robust in China and other emerging markets but that is being offset by the slowing global economy, Zeman said.

Copper for September delivery rose 4.05 cents to end at $3.996 a pound.

Benchmark crude oil for September delivery rose $1.02 to finish at $85.44 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other Nymex trading, heating oil rose 3.18 cents to $2.9425 per gallon, gasoline futures increased 4.15 cents to $2.8766 per gallon and natural gas rose 10.4 cents to $3.993 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Agriculture contracts ended the day higher after the U.S. Agriculture Department said crop conditions deteriorated last week for wheat, corn and soybeans.

September wheat rose 21.75 cents to end at $7.5725 a bushel, December corn increased 9 cents to $7.435 a bushel and November soybeans rose 12 cents to $13.9725 a bushel.