Gold Futures Fall for Third Day on Improved Outlook for Economy

Gold fell for the third straight day on mounting speculation that an improving economy will cut demand for the metal as a haven.

Fewer Americans filed claims for unemployment insurance payments in the past four weeks, boosting prospects for the labor market. A report tomorrow may show U.S. payrolls rose for a third consecutive month. In the previous two days, gold tumbled 3.5 percent, the most in 11 months, after advancing 30 percent in 2010.

“Gold may be at the cusp of the end of the bull rally,” said Leonard Kaplan, the president of Prospector Asset Management in Evanston, Illinois. “Things are going well for the economy, and once interest rates start to rise, gold has to come down.”

Gold futures for February delivery fell $2, or 0.1 percent, to settle at $1,371.70 an ounce at 1:35 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Yesterday, the price touched $1,364, the lowest since Dec. 16. The metal rose to a record $1,432.50 on Dec. 7.

The dollar advanced to a one-month high against the euro before tomorrow’s U.S. payrolls report, forecast to show the unemployment rate declined to 9.7 percent.

Gold’s losses were limited on investor demand for a hedge against the prospects of accelerating inflation, said Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services in Chicago.

‘Element of Reflation’

“You’re at the bottom of the trading range, and so there will be bargain hunters,” said McGhee. “If all the jobs numbers come to fruition, there will be some element of reflation, and the initial sellers in gold this week will become buyers.”

Silver futures for March delivery dropped 7.2 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $29.126 an ounce. The metal jumped 84 percent in 2010.

Palladium futures for March delivery fell $12.40, or 1.6 percent, to $762.90 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price surged 96 percent last year.

Platinum futures for April delivery rose $1 to $1,735.10 an ounce.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pham-Duy Nguyen in Seattle at pnguyen@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net.

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