Gold Prices Suffer Slight Setback

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices slumped Thursday as a slew of positive economic reports suggested improvement in the U.S. economy could eventually slow the easing efforts of the world's central banks.

Gold for December delivery settled down $3.60 to $1,715.50 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,727.50 and as low as $1,715.10 an ounce, while the spot price shed $5.30, according to Kitco's gold index.

"Gold suffered minor selling from triple digit gains in stocks, as better consumer confidence, highest in four years, may delay some stimulus spending," George Gero, precious metals strategist at RBC Wealth Management, wrote in a note.

Silver prices for December delivery dipped 7 cents to settle at $32.25 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was gaining 0.10% to $80.04.

Consumer confidence improved to 72.2 in October, which was a bump up from September's 68.4 reading.

ADP reported that private payrolls added 158,000 jobs in October. A consensus of economists expected 155,000, according to Econoday. Worth noting is that the ADP switched to Moody's as its economic consultant to revamp the data. The government's monthly jobs data for nonfarm payrolls releases Friday morning. It will be the last report ahead of the U.S. presidential election.

Initial jobless claims fell 23,000 to 363,000 for the week ended Oct. 20, and the ISM manufacturing index ticked up 51.7 in September to complete the second consecutive month that the sector reported growth.

The CME Group, which runs the major commodities futures exchanges, reopened its trading floor in lower Manhattan Wednesday after a two-day closure because of Hurricane Sandy.

Gero said that open interest gained 1,310 contracts in gold to 456,742 as traders continued to anticipate stimulus from Europe some time in the future.

Gold mining stocks were mostly lower Thursday. Shares of Barrick Gold ( ABX) plummeted 9.4% after the miner announced that its massive Pascua-Lama gold project would cost more than it expected. Shares of Newmont Mining ( NEM) lost 2.5%.

Among other mining stocks, Kinross Gold ( KGC) shed 0.90%, and Yamana Gold ( AUY) dropped 0.64%

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD) finished off 0.46%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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