Gold falls as Syrian tensions ease

The metal falls $33 and is off 4.7% this month. But crude oil rises because oil traders are skeptical that a deal can be cut. Stocks end lower.

By Charley Blaine Sep 12, 2013 5:10PM
Bull © Photographers Choice RF, SuperStockThe real action in markets on Thursday was in metals and energy. Not stocks. Not bonds. Metals and energy.

Gold (-GC) fell $33.20, or 2.4%, to $1,330.60 an ounce, as hopes grew that there won't be an attack on Syria. Silver (-SI) dropped $1.023, or 4.4%, to $22.149 an ounce. Copper (-HG) slipped 4.7 cents, or 1.4%, to $3.21 a pound.

Crude oil (-CL), meanwhile, settled up $1.04 to $108.60 a barrel. Brent crude, traded in London, was up $1.19 to $112.95 a barrel. The reason for the gains: Skepticism that Russia, Syria and the United States can work out a deal to get Syria's sarin gas safely out of the way. "The chances that there will be a positive resolution to these complicated issues are slim," Chip Hodge, a money-manager who invests in natural-resource bonds, told Bloomberg News.

Oddly, the national average price of gasoline fell. It fell, in fact, for a tenth straight day to $3.55 a gallon, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. So, while gasoline is up 7.8% for the year, it is down 1% so far in September, and if you want to feel reasonably good about things, the pump price nationally is down 8% from a year ago.

Stocks, meanwhile, stumbled to a modest loss. The Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) fell 26 points to 15,301. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) dropped 6 points to 1,683, ending a 7-day winning streak. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) was down 9 points to 3,716.

Interest rates were lower; the 10-year Treasury yield was 2.91%, down from Wednesday's 2.92%.

Gold's gyrations are evidence again how the price can be so easily buffeted around by political events. It's up 7.3% for the quarter, reflecting a 14.1% rally in July and August. Here's the "but:" It's down 4% this week, 4.7% in September and still down nearly 21% this year.

All of the recent moves are in reaction to rising and falling Middle East tensions.

Silver has fared worse. It's down 7.3% for the week and 5.8% for the month. And, yes, it's down for the year, too: an eye-popping 26.7%.

Mining stocks were hit hard. The NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index ($HUI) fell 14 points to 229. It's down 48.5% this year. Newmont Mining (NEM) fell $1.23 to $28.23. Barrick Gold (ABX) dropped $1.03 to $17.61. But Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) gained 32 cents to $33.15. Most of its output from a copper mine in Indonesia goes to Japan and China.

There was some decent news for investors. Walt Disney (DIS) was the top performer among the 30 Dow stocks, up $1.55 to $65.49, after announcing an $8 billion stock buyback. Yahoo (YHOO) finished above $30 for the first time in more than five years.

Apple (AAPL) rebounded from a Wednesday drubbing, closing up $4.98 to $472.69. The shares were beaten up Tuesday and Wednesday over disappointment with the company's new iPhones.

Facebook (FB) hit a 52-week high of $45.62 but fell back, ending the day down 29 cents to $44.75.

Lastly, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished above their 50-day moving averages for a second day in a row. The 50-day average is widely watched as a measure of investor confidence.

The S&P 500 had traded as much as 3.4% below its 50-day moving average on June 24 as markets worried about Federal Reserve policy, slowing global economies and the Middle East.

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Sep 12, 2013 6:25PM
Syria may be a distraction, but Putin is still running circles around Obama.  The USA hasn't looked this weak and vulnerable since 1811.  Apparently the community-organizer-in-chief is only good at organizing communities of like-minded Democrats.  Put Obama in a situation where he has to coalesce a diverse group of heads of state, including many that don't respect him and lack confidence in his leadership abilities, and he folds like a cheap suit.  Not exactly a good trait in a POTUS.
Sep 13, 2013 1:11AM

You've got a BIG SCRATCH on your Record, Brutus; Maybe you should itch it.



Sep 12, 2013 9:12PM

"That's what makes us exceptional," Obama said. "With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth."


"It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation," Putin wrote.


I don't know exactly what his words are but he says `we are all God's children.' I think that's great. I hope it applies to gays and lesbians in Russia as well," Pelosi said.



Sep 12, 2013 5:50PM

You can guess who's shorting again? Betting PM's are taking their next leg down towards it's base value as a commodity.

Not going as far as earlier because much of the ride down has already been spent.  A good percentage to go, but not willing to risk as much as before.  Besides, I have to keep some in reserve for better opportunities to declare themselves.

Sep 12, 2013 6:07PM
I would like to know where the price of gasoline is falling. Still paying $3.91 a gallon in Maine. The big investors do not and will not let prices fall because they do not want to lose their gravy train regardless of the damage they are inflicting on our economy. How many times are they going to build the Syrian Crisis into the price of a barrel of oil? They are reaching the sick and pathetic point, buy that is ok because Wall Street does as they please and answers to nobody. Would love to see these people taken down a few notches, Greedy Pigs.
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