Gold Slides, Ends Barely Above $1,600; Crude Drops

By The Associated Press

Gold prices are ending lower as investors become less skittish about the economy.

Gold for April delivery fell $26 to $1,609.50 an ounce Friday. That's a loss of 1.6 percent.

Most other metals prices also fell.

The appeal of gold as an alternate store of value has slipped as the stock market has recovered since the beginning of the year .The S&P 500 index notched its seventh straight weekly gain Friday, its longest winning streak in more than two years, and it is up 6.6 percent so far this year.

Agricultural commodities rose. In March contracts, wheat rose 10.25 cents to $7.4225 a bushel, corn rose 4 cents to $6.9875 a bushel and soybeans rose 6.5 cents to $14.245 a bushel.

In metals trading, March silver fell 50.4 cents to $28.849 an ounce. April platinum fell $33.20 to $1,677.70 an ounce. March palladium fell $10.90 an ounce to $753.15 an ounce. Copper was little changed at $3.737 a pound.

Oil fell $1.45 to finish at $95.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price many varieties of foreign oil, fell 34 cents to end at $117.66 per barrel in London.

Heating oil fell 1.33 cents to finish at $3.2104 a gallon, wholesale gasoline for April fell 0.26 cents to end at $3.138 a gallon, and natural gas fell 1 cent to finish at $3.153 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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