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Gold Prices Fall Despite Escalation in Ukraine Violence

Stocks in this article: ABXNEMGLDIAU

Updated from 9:58 a.m. ET with settlement prices

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Gold prices closed slightly lower on Monday as shuttered markets in London led to thin trading.

Gold for June delivery at the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange dipped $5.40 to $1,288.50 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,302.50 and as low as $1,281.80 an ounce, while the spot price was sliding $4.90, or 0.38%.

"This is basically a waiting game because London is closed today for Easter Monday, so a lot of the volume isn't there for what we normally see for a two-way market." George Gero, precious metals strategist at RBC Capital Markets, said in a phone interview from New York.

Analysts continued to monitor the escalation of violence in Ukraine, where reports said at least three people died in a shootout in the eastern city of Donetsk and another two bodies were pulled from a river the past few days.

Geopolitical tensions typically trigger buying of gold as a safe-haven asset, but traders have yet to see safe-haven support for the yellow metal.

Silver prices for May delivery fell 25 cents to $19.35 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was adding 0.11% to $79.95.

Gold miners were trading mixed on Monday, but market participants paid close attention to Barrick Gold (ABX) and Newmont Mining (NEM), which Bloomberg News reported agreed to an all-stock merger, but talks had recently broken down. Shares of Newmont were the top performer in the S&P 500, surging 6.4%, while Barrick slipped 3.9%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) closed down 0.4% to $124.24 a share, while iShares Gold Trust (IAU) was off 0.4% to $12.51 a share.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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