Gold and platinum fell Thursday while silver plunged toward $12 an ounce. In other markets, oil broke a three-day losing streak and U.S. stocks soared.
In New York trading futures for bullion:
Silver for May delivery plummeted 54.5 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $12.255 an ounce.
Gold for June lost $13.70, or 1.5 percent, to $879.80 an ounce.
- July platinum fell $9.20, or 0.8 percent, to $1,215.80 an ounce.
"Gold is showing signs of weakness amid the drop in prices of goods to consumers, indicating that inflation has yet to rear its head," Miguel Perez-Santalla, a sales vice president at Heraeus Precious Metals Management in New York, was quoted on Bloomberg. "Investor- and industrial-demand remain weak at these levels as well."
It’s "almost a tug of war between buyers and sellers, inflation or deflation believers," George Gero, a precious-metals trader for RBC Capital Markets, was quoted on MarketWatch.
The Labor Department on Wednesday reported consumer prices fell 0.1 percent in March, indicating inflation is, at least for now, under control. For some economists, the data raised concerns for deflation. Deflation is a persistent decrease in general prices.
In spot bullion, the benchmark London gold-fixing price stood at $880.50, or $10.50 lower than Wednesday. Silver lost 29 cents to $12.65. Platinum was fixed $3.00 lower to $1213.00.
Gold, considered a hedge during times of high inflation and economic uncertainty, tends to follow oil and move opposite to the U.S. dollar. A rising greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities, like bullion, more expensive for holders of other world currencies.
Oil and gasoline prices
A Labor Department report showing that first-time claims for unemployment dropped last week to a level not seen since January was cited as optimistic for oil demand. Breaking a three-day trend, crude-oil prices climbed Thursday by 73 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $49.98 a barrel.
Prices at the pump rose slightly (again) for consumers. The average price for unleaded gasoline climbed one-tenth of a cent to $2.052 a gallon, according to AAA.
Thursday was rallying time for U.S. stocks.The Dow Jones industrial average gained 95.81 points, or 1.19 percent, to 8,125.43. The S&P 500 jumped 13.24 points, or 1.55 percent, to 865.30. The Nasdaq Composite surged 43.64 points, or 2.68 percent, to 1,670.44.