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Gold ends near $1,272 as stocks rise; demand flounders

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Gold settled lower on Monday as a rebound in equities dented bullion's safe-haven appeal, and lackluster physical buying prompted traders to cash in three days' gains.

Gains from the stock market diverted investment interest from gold, as the Dow and S&P 500 extended their record highs, rising above 16,000 and 1,800 respectively. Equities also climbed on signs of ambitious economic reform in China and the prospect of extended stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

Also weighing down on investor sentiment was last week's decline in the holdings of SPDR Gold Shares, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund.

"Until such time as financial investors—be they short—or longer-term-oriented - return to the market, gold and silver will find it hard to make any significant gains,'' said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank.

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Spot gold was last down 1.3 percent to $1,273 an ounce. The metal had gained almost 2 percent in the last three days. U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled 1.2 percent lower at $1,272.30 an ounce.

Gold dominated a stampede out of commodities in the week to Nov. 12 as hedge funds and other speculative investors sold off more than $4 billion in U.S. futures and options contracts, data showed on Friday.

Gold demand from major consumers in Asia remained muted on Monday. Chinese premiums have fallen to about $5.50 an ounce from about $7.50 on Friday. Prices are also suffering from a dearth of demand from India, which is set to be overtaken by China as the world's No. 1 gold buyer this year after Indian authorities increased export duties for the metal.

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