Shares of gold mining companies fell with gold prices Friday as investors anticipated a deal in Washington that would avert a default on the U.S. government's debt.
Gold is considered by some a preferred investment in uncertain times. The federal government has been partially shut down since Oct. 1, and will reach its borrowing limit on Oct. 17. That threatens to leave the U.S. unable to pay its bills.
But as the possibility of an agreement in Washington seemed more likely, with politicians meeting to talk, demand lessened for the metal. The price for gold fell 2.2 percent to $1,268 Friday.
The day's gold trading was volatile. Exchange operator CME Group Inc. said that it stopped trading for a few seconds Friday morning to prevent big price swings. The exchange operator did not comment on media reports that one big sell order caused a plunge that triggered the halt.
Gold miner shares reflected the slide in gold in afternoon trading Friday:
Barrick Gold Corp. shares fell 57 cents, a 3 percent drop, to $17.27
Goldcorp Inc. shares fell 67 cents, a nearly 3 percent drop, to $23.61
Newmont Mining Corp. shares fell 45 cents, nearly 2 percent, to $25.86
Gold Fields Ltd. shares fell 14 cents, a 3 percent drop, to $4.31
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