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Gold rises on Yellen comments

Steve Rothwell, Markets Writer

Gold rose for the first day in six after Janet Yellen made it clear that she is prepared to stand by the Federal Reserve's extraordinary efforts to support the economy.

Analysts said that her comments suggest that the central bank remains concerned about the health of the economy, boosting demand for gold. Yellen, who has been nominated to replace Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve, was speaking at a confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Banking Committee Thursday.

The Fed's policy "by definition means that there's greater economic uncertainty," said James Steel, an analyst at HSBC in New York. "And if there is one thing gold does like, it's uncertainty."

Demand for gold may also have been stoked by emerging markets buyers taking advantage of a recent dip in prices. Before Thursday's gain, gold had fallen 4 percent in November.

The price of gold for December delivery rose $17.90, or 1.4 percent, to $1,286.30 an ounce.

Silver for December climbed 28 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $20.72 an ounce. Palladium for the same month gained $4.35, or 0.6 percent, to $739.80 an ounce. Platinum for January rose $12.10, or 0.8 percent, to $1,444.10. Copper for December was flat at $3.16 a pound.

In trading of agricultural products, wheat, corn and soybeans all edged lower.

Wheat fell 0.75 cent, or 0.1 percent, to $6.4475 a bushel. Corn dropped 3.25 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $4.265 a bushel. Soybeans fell 1.5 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $13.125.

Benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery slipped 12 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $93.76 a barrel.

In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline added 6 cents to $2.68 a gallon, heating oil added 3 cents to $2.93 a gallon and natural gas rose 4 cents to $3.61 per 1,000 cubic feet.