By The Associated PressLESS PRECIOUS: Gold prices slipped to start the week, pressured lower by traders who made bets the precious metal would fall. Gold prices have dropped 1.3 percent so far this year. CLEANING DAY: Options on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Comex exchange expired Monday, helping to drive gold prices lower. Many of the traders who had previously placed bets that gold would fall through options contracts known as "puts" are closing out those bets and taking their winnings off the table. ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil rose 56 cents to finish at $96.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.