The latest signs of strength in the U.S. economy prompted traders to dump gold and silver futures in anticipation of the Federal Reserve winding down its stimulus program.
Gold fell $15.30 to $1,231.90 an ounce Thursday. Silver fell 26 cents to $19.57 an ounce.
A surprise pickup in U.S. economic growth in the third quarter and plunging claims for unemployment benefits got metals traders thinking that a reduction in the Fed’s huge bond-buying program could be coming.
Traders had worried that the Fed’s stimulus would weaken the dollar and cause inflation, two reasons often cited for holding precious metals. With the end to the stimulus seeming to get closer, investors are finding fewer reasons to own gold and silver.
In other metals trading, copper for March delivery fell 2 cents to $3.23 a pound.
Platinum for January delivery fell $12.50 to $1,363.50 an ounce. Palladium for March delivery rose $7.60 to $736.85 an ounce.
Oil rose 18 cents to $97.38 a barrel.
Wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent to $2.71 a gallon, heating oil shed 1 cent to $3.05 a gallon and
Natural gas added 17 cents to $4.13 per 1,000 cubic feet, the highest closing price since May 29. Natural gas in storage fell by 162 billion cubic feet last week, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decline of 143 billion cubic feet. A cold front in middle parts of the country is heading east and leading traders to expect greater demand for home heating.
In agricultural commodities trading, March wheat fell 9.75 cents to $6.52 a bushel.
March corn lost three cents to $4.335 a bushel, and January soybeans edged down 1.5 cents to $13.28 a bushel.