Gold futures closed Monday with a more than $20-an-ounce loss as data from two of the world’s biggest economies helped spur an overall rally in global stock markets and the U.S. dollar strengthened, dulling the metal’s investment appeal. Gold for December delivery fell $22.10, or 1.3%, to settle at $1,737.60 an ounce, following an intraday low at $1,729.70. Prices, which extended a decline from Friday, when the precious metal fell $10.90 for a weekly drop of 1.2%, settled at its lowest level since mid-September, according to FactSet data. “Gold’s lack of follow-through on its recent rally is leading traders with itchy trigger fingers to sell,” said Brien Lundin, editor of Gold Newsletter. “Right now the gold market is stuck in the gray area between the QE3 hype and the reality of this money-printing actually hitting the economy,” he said in an emailed response. “In addition, it’s going to be difficult for gold to mount a sustained upward move until after the presidential election provides some clarity as to the direction of U.S. economic policy going forward.” Data out Monday showed a 1.1% jump for U.S. retail sales in September, more than analysts had expected, while sales growth was also revised slightly higher for August and July. Other U.S. data showed that the Empire state index rose to a negative 6.2 in October from negative 10.4 in September, the weakest reading for the gauge in nearly two years, while business inventories climbed 0.6% in August. Following the data, the ICE dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, stood at 79.754, off the session’s high of 79.968, but up from 79.677 late Friday. Strength in the dollar tends to weigh on dollar-denominated commodities such as gold and oil because it makes them more expensive for holders of other currencies. Overall strength in global stock markets following economic data from China, not to mention the U.S., also drew investor attention away from gold as a safe-haven asset. China on Saturday said that its trade surplus widened in September, easing worries about consumer demand. Exports rose 9.9% to a record monthly high of $186.9 billion. Despite the relatively upbeat economic data Monday, Global Hunter Securities maintains its “conviction that gold is going higher in the medium to longer term,” said Jeffrey Wright, a managing director at GHS. Gold’s seeing some profit taking on the recent run up, and it’s still holding “$1,725-ish support.” Among other metals, silver was a standout, leading the decline among the major metals traded on Comex. December silver fell 93 cents, or 2.8%, to settle at $32.74 an ounce, on the heels of a 2.3% pullback last week. Copper for December delivery ended little changed at $3.70 per pound. Goldman Sachs cut its 12-month price outlook on copper, citing concerns over demand from China’s construction industry. The investment bank now sees prices at $8,000 a metric ton in 12 months, down from a prior forecast of $9,000 a metric ton. Palladium for December delivery fell $6.45, or 1%, to end at $632.60 an ounce, while January platinum dropped $27, or 1.6%, to $1,632.30 an ounce.
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