The absence of substantial demand could hurt gold prices even as investment demand stays strong.

" Scrap gold ... was making its way onto India's shopkeepers' shelves," says Nadler. "Physical buyers in India ... turned away from buying the precious metal for the moment, as the perception that gold prices are too high and that they might correct soon dented festival-related shopping enthusiasm."

In other gold news, the Wall Street Journal reported that JPMorgan ( JPM) will close its commodity proprietary trading desk to meet with the recent financial reform law. Its prop desk is in London and its dismantling might force liquidations in the gold futures market.

Silver prices were settled down 3 cents at $19.39 while copper closed up 10 cents to $3.47. Base metals were rallying Wednesday on the news the China's manufacturing rose in August to 51.7 with any number over 50 indicating activity.

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Gold mining stocks, a risky but potentially profitable way to buy gold, were mixed Wednesday. AngloGold Ashanti ( AU) was up 0.28% to $42.17 while Kinross Gold ( KGC) popped 2.25% to $16.54. Other gold stocks New Gold ( NGD) and Gold Fields ( GFI) were trading at $6.25 and $14.18, respectively.

-- Written by Alix Steel in New York.

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