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Gold falls as investors cash in gains

The precious metal, driven to record highs during a six-day rally, drops $30.40, or 1.6%. Silver also declines.

August 24, 2011|By Tom Petruno, Los Angeles Times
  • Near-term gold futures in New York fell to $1,858.30 an ounce in the regular trading session, then slid to $1,835 in electronic trading. The price had reached a record $1,917.90 in electronic trading late Monday. Above, a store in downtown Los Angeles.
Near-term gold futures in New York fell to $1,858.30 an ounce in the regular… (Michael Robinson Chavez,…)

Not so fast on those "Gold $2,000" T-shirts.

Some investors and traders finally decided to cash in their recent huge gains in the yellow metal, driving the price down Tuesday after a six-day rally sent it to record highs.

Near-term futures in New York fell $30.40, or 1.6%, to $1,858.30 an ounce in the regular trading session, then slid to $1,835 in electronic trading.

The price had reached a record $1,917.90 in electronic trading late Monday.

The sudden large swings could give some potential gold buyers pause, analysts said.

"The very thing that gold is supposed to mitigate against to a certain extent — volatility — is the attribute it has taken on of late," said Jon Nadler, senior metals analyst at Kitco Metals in Montreal.

Silver, which had been up for seven straight sessions through Monday, fell $1.04, or 2.4%, to $42.28 an ounce Tuesday. Silver had closed at $43.32 on Monday, its highest price since May 2, when the metal was beginning a steep plunge after hitting a 30-year high.

Precious metals have streaked higher this summer on fears of another global recession and as Europe's government-debt crisis has worsened. The dive in stock prices since late July also has fed demand for gold as a haven.

Through Monday, gold had risen nearly $400 just since June 30.

But just as some analysts began to talk about a "parabolic" rise in prices, others warned that profit-taking was overdue.

Next up: Gold's fans are counting on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke hinting at another economic-stimulus program when he speaks at a banking conference on Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Any new money-printing campaign by the Fed could further devalue the dollar and keep gold's bull market raging. Bernanke, however, is merely expected to say the Fed stands ready to help, if needed.

And if the stock market keeps rallying, Bernanke may have less reason to sound concerned about the economy.

tom.petruno@latimes.com

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