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Gold, Silver Slip as Traders Anticipate Fed Minutes

Stocks in this article: GLD IAU AU AEM ABX

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices are pulling back slightly on Monday as traders took profits ahead of the Federal Reserve's latest policy-making minutes.

Gold and silver posted strong performances last week. Silver surged 14.3% for its best weekly performance in 2013 and gold increased 4.5% as prospects dimmed for the Fed to taper its monetary stimulus as early as September. A raft of last week's favorable U.S. economic data led traders to bid up the price of the white precious metal on the belief that it has been oversold relative to gold.

Gold for December delivery at the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange was losing $3.50 to $1,367.50 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,384.10 and as low as $1,363.10 an ounce, while the spot price was dropping $10.56.

"We obviously had a very good run last week; I think the markets really just wanted to test the strength of that break we had above $1,350, and that has basically allowed it to drift a bit lower today," Ole Hansen, head of commodities strategy at Saxo Bank, said in a phone call from Copenhagen. "You would imagine if there's one metal that really needs the correction now it's silver."

Though the continuation of gold's rally could heavily rely on the Fed's minutes set to print Wednesday, silver may have more room to pop.

Gold, which many investors use as a hedge against inflation (many participants view the central bank's quantitative easing programs as long-term inflationary), has tracked closely to Fed policy. Silver closely follows gold's movements, but the precious metal also has industrial characteristics.

Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Lewis wrote Monday in a note to investors that the bank expects the gold to silver ratio to move back toward 55, so long as global PMI's continue to improve.

Silver prices for September delivery were dropping 19 cents to $23.14 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was decreasing 0.06% to $81.24.

Gold mining stocks were mixed on Monday. Shares of AngloGold Ashanti (AU) were sliding 5%, while shares of Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM) were gaining 1%.

Among volume leaders, Barrick Gold (ABX) was up 0.21%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was slipping 0.42% to $132.02, while iShares Gold Trust (IAU) was off 0.41% to $13.28.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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