NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Spot gold prices ended lower Thursday as investors' risk appetite grew amid positive economic news and others cashed out before the markets grow quieter during the December holiday period.

Stocks were firmly planted in positive territory Thursday afternoon as surprising reports about a fall in initial jobless claims and strong manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region piqued investor appetite for riskier assets such as stocks and dulled some of the enthusiasm for safer investments such as gold.

Intraday industry leaders included gambling, aluminum and furnishings, but consumer finance and gold mining stocks lagged.

The U.S. dollar index was flattish at $80.18.

New York spot gold prices fell $12, or 0.9%, to $1,367, according to Kitco's spot price index.

Spot silver prices lost 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $28.69. Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com

Spot platinum prices slumped by $1, or less than 0.1%, to $1,694 an ounce, accompanying its sister metal. Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com


New York spot palladium prices fell $10, or 1.3%, to $736 an ounce.

Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com

Precious metal mining stocks -- which offer another form of exposure to the precious metals -- were in the red Thursday afternoon even with the general gain in equities.

Barrick Gold ( ABX) was falling 2.5% to $51.24 and Silvercorp Metals ( SVM - Get Report) was shrugging off 3.5% to $12.05. Goldcorp ( GG) was giving up 2.1% to $44.89 and Silver Wheaton ( SLW) was losing 2.1% to $37.13.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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