The yellow metal settled lower as a stronger US currency weighed on prices, but not before it set another intraday record as uncertainty reigned over the debt ceiling.
Prices rally once again as the stand-off in Washington shows no sign of resolution.
If the US economy created fewer than 165,000 jobs in March, it is in danger of falling into a second recession.
The Dow falls 26 ahead of Friday's jobs report. Target's and Macy's December sales are disappointing. AT&T and Verizon pull the Dow lower. Nvidia soars. A rising dollar hits oil.
Stocks have been soaring since their bottom in March 2009. The gaps between index values and their 200-day moving averages are widening, perhaps to insupportable levels.
A deal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and unemployment benefits fuels fears about the growing national deficit.
Investors will be watching as the debate over the Bush-era tax cuts heats up in Congress on the heels of November's disappointing jobs report.
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The Market Dispatches column has been discontinued. Here's where to find the latest stock and business news on MSN Money, and the latest from market writer Charley Blaine.
MONEY & POLITICS
Breaking up big banks is an untested solution to the too big to fail problem that attempts to isolate and dismantle large, troubled institutions while protecting the rest of the economy.
If you worry about money after the streetlights come on, these actions may help you rest easier.
Six weeks later, most Americans have forgotten about the 2014 tax season -- except those who didn't file by the April 15 deadline.
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