Gold Ends Lower as Stock Markets Retreat

Source: World Gold Council

Gold ended lower on Wednesday after earlier tumbling to a nine-month low near $1,550 an ounce as deepening losses in crude oil and equities triggered a sell-off of commodities.

Bullion, a traditional inflation hedge, came under heavy pressure as swelling U.S. crude stockpiles indicated a struggling economy with limited demand for fuel.

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Safe-haven buying was absent as weaker U.S. equities weighed down on assets across the board after a disappointing U.S. private-sector job report.

"This is clearly not a rush to the exit as there is still plenty of fear in the market, but we have clearly shifted more toward a bear trend," said Robert Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

Hopes for an economic recovery in the United States and a possible halt to Bank of Japan's monetary easing, which could come at its policy meeting later this week, have made it tough for investors to like gold, Haworth said.

Gold was down 1.4 percent to $1,554 an ounce, having hit an earlier low of $1,549.69, a level last seen in June 28, 2012.

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The precious metal fell sharply for a second day after its previous session's 1.4 percent drop, as safe-haven buying dried up on rallying global stock markets.

U.S. gold futures settled $22.40 lower at $1,553.50 an ounce, with trading volume set to finish in line with its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.

Spot silver fell 1.2 percent to nearly $27 an ounce, having earlier hit $26.72, its lowest level since July 2012.

Among platinum group metals, spot platinum was down 2.4 percent to $1,532 an ounce, while spot palladium dropped 1.9 percent to about $750 an ounce.