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Gold Prices Fall After Smooth Italian Bond Auction

By The Associated Press

Metal prices were lower Wednesday after investors decided that Italy's gridlock-inducing election might not be so worrisome after all.

Gold for April delivery fell $19.80, or 1.2 percent, to $1,595.70 per ounce. Silver and platinum were down 1 percent or more.

On Monday Italy's elections failed to produce a clear majority and made investors worry that the country could renege on some of its commitments to cut spending, which some investors believe is essential for getting the country on sound financial terms. Nervous investors may turn to gold as a safe haven. But on Wednesday, Italy auctioned off government bonds smoothly, a sign that investors are coming to grips with the uncertainty.

"It's still not clear who's running the country," said Robert Haworth, senior investment strategist with U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Seattle. But "the markets are saying, 'No, this is still fine. The (European Central Bank) is still in charge.'"

May silver fell 33.5 cents to $28.985 per ounce. April platinum was down $16.40 to $1,600.10 per ounce. May copper edged down 1.6 cents to $3.567 per pound. June palladium rose $3.75 to $745.65 per ounce

Oil prices were lackluster. Benchmark oil rose 13 cents to $92.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The government reported that crude inventories increased less than expected. The nation's oil supplies are nearly 10 percent above year-ago levels.

Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, fell 84 cents to $111.87 in London.

Wholesale gasoline was down 9 cents to $3.11 a gallon. Heating oil fell 4 cents to $2.99 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2 cents to $3.43 per 1,000 cubic feet

Most agricultural commodities were flat. Wheat inched up 1 cent to $7.12 per bushel. Corn moved up half a cent to $6.9525 per bushel. Soybeans rose 7.75 cents to $14.395 per bushel.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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