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Gold Prices Fall on Jobs Data, Dollar

(Updated to account for price movements.)

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A strengthening U.S. dollar drew money out of the red-hot gold market Friday, with the declines in gold prices accelerating late in the day.

Gold prices for December delivery plunged below the $1,200-per-ounce level and the record highs reached on Thursday. In open-cry trading on the Comdex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the contract lost $48.60 to settle at $1,168.80 an ounce. Gold for February delivery, meanwhile, the most heavily traded contract, fell $48.80 to $1,169.50, settling close to its intraday low of $1,167.90. The high was $1,213.90.

In electronic trading, gold prices continued to deteriorate. Recently, the February contract was down $61.40 at $1,156.90 an ounce.

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Data from the Labor Department, which registered far fewer job losses in November than experts were expecting, helped shove the Dow Jones Industrial Average up by more than 125 points immediately after the opening bell, while the S&P 500 spiked by more than 12 points. Stocks then dramatically reversed direction before moderating toward the end of the session.

The greenback, meanwhile, strengthened against a range of foreign currencies -- the dollar index jumped by more than 1% Friday -- and other safe-haven assets declined in value along with gold, including the benchmark 10-Year Treasury.

Gold Selloff Won't Last

Gold-mining stocks, which are leveraged to the price of the yellow stuff, also took it on the nose Friday. Shares of Barrick Gold (ABX), which recently unwound its hedge book, exposing itself fully to gold prices, were tumbling more than 9% late in the session, while Newmont Mining (NEM) was trading lower by 4.8%.

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