Spanish and Italian bond yields surged, fueling fears that the crisis may be worsening. Stocks slid, extending the longest slump for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since November and the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials declined as much as 1.5 percent.
“People are now looking at gold as a flight-to-quality investment rather than a classic commodity in this fear environment,” Adam Klopfenstein, a market strategist at Archer Financial Services Inc., based in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.
Gold futures for June delivery rose 1 percent to settle at $1,660.70 an ounce at 1:42 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest jump since March 30. Earlier, prices touched $1,664.80, the highest since April 3.
Bullion also rose as purchases increased in India, the world’s biggest importer, after jewelers ended a 21-day strike, Klopfenstein said.
Open interest for gold futures contracts fell to 401,018 on April 5, the lowest since Sept. 1, 2009.
Silver futures for May delivery advanced 0.5 percent to $31.679 an ounce on the Comex, gaining for the second time in three sessions.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for July delivery fell 1.5 percent to $1,593.70 an ounce, retreating for the first time in three sessions. Palladium futures for June delivery declined 1.1 percent to $636.85 an ounce on the Nymex.
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