For the second straight day, precious metals declined. Gold dropped below $900 an ounce, platinum headed downward toward $1,100 and silver lost its luster. U.S. stocks and oil futures were down for day two as well, but suffered only modest losses. Global concern over swine flu was again cited as a confidence buster for markets.
In New York trading futures for bullion:
Silver for May delivery plunged 55.5 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $12.40 an ounce.
Gold for June fell $14.60, or 1.6 percent, to $893.60 an ounce.
- July platinum lost $48.70, or 4.2 percent, to $1,101.60 an ounce.
"Gold prices slid at the steepest angle seen in three weeks on Tuesday, mainly on fears that the flu pandemic will push the global economic green shoots back into the ground for an unknown additional length of time," wrote Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco Bullion Dealers.
"This metal is hardly a safe haven from the possible economic consequences that may result from the pandemic," John Reade of UBS AG in London was quoted on Bloomberg. "There is a possible read through to silver, considering Mexico’s position as the second-largest producer of the metal and supplies could be interrupted if the virus continues to spread."
In spot bullion, the benchmark London gold fix price stood at $891.00, falling $16.50 from the Monday PM fix. Silver lost 42 cents to $12.56 an ounce. Platinum was fixed $67.00 lower to $1,078.00.
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
Crude for June delivery lost 22 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $49.92 a barrel. Prices at the pump again declined. AAA said the national average for unleaded gasoline was two-tenths of a cent lower than Monday, falling to $2.048 a gallon. The average price per gallon is now 1.2 cents lower than a week ago.
In U.S. stocks, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 8.05 points, or 0.10 percent, to 8,016.95. The S&P 500 Index fell 2.35 points, or 0.27 percent, to 855.16. The Nasdaq Composite declined 5.60 points, or 0.33 percent, to 1,673.81.