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Gold falls below $1,200 for first time since 2010

The Associated Press

Gold fell below $1,200 an ounce for the first time in almost two years Thursday as traders anticipated an eventual end to the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus program.

Gold for August delivery lost $18.20, or 1.5 percent, to settle at $1,211.60 an ounce. It went as low as $1,196 an ounce, the first time it traded below $1,200 since August 2010.

The price of gold has been falling sharply since last week, when the Fed said it could wind down its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases by the middle of next year, as long as the economy continues to improve. Gold traded at $1,350 an ounce before the Fed made its announcement last Wednesday.

Other metals were mixed after a broad sell-off the day before.

Silver for July delivery fell 5.4 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $18.533 an ounce.

July platinum rose $21.50, or 1.6 percent, to $1,325.20 an ounce and September palladium rose $17.45, or 2.8 percent, to $650.70 an ounce. July copper rose 1.15 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $3.0525 a pound.

Crop prices were lower. The actively traded contract for wheat delivered in September fell 3.25 cents to $6.7375 a bushel. Corn for December delivery fell 5.5 cents to $5.3850 a bushel. Soybeans for November delivery edged down 0.75 cent to $12.7525 a bushel.

Crude oil for August delivery rose $1.55, or 1.6 percent, to finish at $97.05 a barrel in New York. Oil has gained nearly 4 percent this week, after a sharp drop last Thursday and Friday on the Fed news.

In other energy trading, heating oil rose 4 cents to end at $2.89 a gallon and wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to finish at $2.74 a gallon.

Natural gas futures fell after the Energy Department said supplies rose more than expected last week. Natural gas fell 16 cents, or 4.1 percent, to end at $3.58 per 1,000 cubic feet, the lowest price since March 6.