U.S. gold retreated $3.60 on Thursday, breaking a two-day winning streak and dropping from its 8-week high. Commonly cited for stalling yellow-metal haven buying was a riskier investment environment, brought on by a more-than-expected drop in U.S. jobless claims.
Precious metals were mixed overall. Silver fell 0.3 percent while platinum gained 0.8 percent and palladium surged 2.2 percent.
In other markets, crude oil climbed for a second day and over $73 a barrel while U.S. stocks rose early but slid later with the major indexes declining between 0.7 and 1.1 percent.
New York precious metals closing prices follow:
Gold for December delivery lost 0.3 percent to $1,237.70 an ounce. It ranged from $1,237.20 to $1,246.00.
September silver ended down 4.4 cents to $18.982 an ounce. It ranged between $18.910 and $19.165.
Platinum for October delivery rose $12.50 to end at $1,539.90 an ounce. It ranged from $1,525.50 to $1,540.50.
Palladium for December delivery, now the most active contract, jumped $10.80 to $504.30 an ounce. It ranged between $494.65 and $509.00.
In notable bullion quotes of the day:
"When you see the economy recovering and equities rallying, the flight-to-quality crowd will start to put the brakes on gold," Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago, said and was quoted on Bloomberg.
"The jobless claims data has raised some hopes. There is reduced risk aversion and less concern about the economy, because we certainly had some dismal data earlier in the week," Peter Buchanan, senior economist at CIBC World Markets in Toronto, said and was quoted on Reuters.
"Gold prices slipped into negative territory rather fast, as a larger than anticipated drop in initial jobless claims brought back a modicum of confidence about labour market conditions in the US," noted Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco Metals, Inc.
In PM London bullion, the benchmark gold price was fixed to $1,237.00 an ounce, falling 50 cents from the PM price on Wednesday. Silver gained 48 cents to $19.110 an ounce. Platinum settled at $1,531.00 an ounce, adding $15.00. Palladium rose $11.50 to $502.00 an ounce.
In silver coins news, the United States Mint on Thursday issued 2010 Silver Proof Sets. The annual numismatic product features 14 coins that are proof versions of this year’s standard circulating change. The five quarters, dime and half-dollar are struck in 90 percent silver, giving the product a total silver weight of 1.34 ounces.
Oil and gasoline prices
New York crude oil for October delivery ended up 84 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $73.36 a barrel.
"We have a weaker dollar and better-than-expected jobs data," Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank AG in Washington, said on Bloomberg. "If people really believe that the trading range for oil is $70 to $80, then you’re kind of reverting back to $75."
The national average for regular unleaded gasoline fell eight-tenths of a cent to $2.688 a gallon, according to AAA fuel data. The price is 4.2 cents lower than a week ago, 5.4 cents down from a month back, but 6.6 cents higher than the price from a year ago.
U.S. stocks fell, "erasing earlier gains as worries about a sputtering economy overshadowed a better-than-expected report on jobless claims," wrote Blake Ellis of CNNMoney.com.
"The best the bull can say is that the recovery is evening itself out now, it’s not accelerating any more," Linda Duessel, market strategist at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, said and was quoted on Reuters. "We think it’s a soft patch and not a double dip, but the market is pricing more and more for a double dip, so you’re vulnerable to the upside."
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 74.25 points, or 0.74 percent, to 9,985.81. The S&P 500 Index declined 8.11 points, or 0.77 percent, to 1,047.22. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 22.85 points, or 1.07 percent, to 2,118.69.