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Gold breaks 5-day winning streak; ends around $1,373

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Gold futures settled lower after briefly touching their highest in six months on Monday as appetite for risk remained cautious following Crimea's vote to break from Ukraine and Western countries' sanctions on Moscow and Kiev officials.

European Union foreign ministers have agreed to impose sanctions including travel bans and asset freezes on 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine, Lithuania's foreign minister said.

U.S. gold futures settled $6.10 lower at $1,372.90 an ounce, having earlier hit a six-month high of $1,392.60 an ounce.

Spot gold was last trading at $1,367 an ounce, down 1 percent, as equity markets regained some strength.

(Read more: No surprises in Crimea vote, but now what between West, Russia?)

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
GOLD
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GOLD/USD
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SILV/USD
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SILVER
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PALL/USD
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PLAT/USD
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Bullion has gained 15 percent this year and was headed for its biggest quarterly gain for 27 years as mounting geopolitical tensions and fears over slowing economic growth spurred demand for the metal as an insurance against risk.

European stocks rose but were still close to one-month lows, and U.S. futures were in positive territory on Monday, while the dollar fell 0.1 percent against a basket of currencies, after weaker-than-expected New York Fed manufacturing data.

Crimea's Moscow-backed leaders declared a 96-percent vote in favor of quitting Ukraine and annexation by Russia in a referendum.

Traders were now awaiting the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting on March 18-19. The central bank is expected to announce another $10 billion cut to its bond-buying stimulus.

A series of U.S. economic data showing that growth has been hurt by severe cold weather has recently hit the dollar, in turn bolstering gold. A weaker U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated assets like gold cheaper for foreign investors.

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