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Sector Snap: Gold

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of gold miners fell Wednesday, as the price of the precious metal dropped to its lowest point in three years.

The tumble came amid a rise in stock markets, boosted by increased investor optimism. Investors tend to buy gold when they're nervous about returns in other investments.

In afternoon trading the price of gold fell $45.80, or 3.6 percent, to $1,229.30 an ounce.

In a note to investors Tuesday, Credit Suisse analyst Anita Soni said the future of gold prices remains uncertain. Because of that and other factors, she cut her rating on Barrick Gold Corp. to "Neutral" from "Outperform" and reduced her price target by $16 to $20.

Meanwhile, the investment bank's Canadian arm cut its gold price predictions for the next three years.

Here's how shares of some gold miners traded Wednesday:

— Barrick, down $1.16, or 7.2 percent, to $14.95.

— Seabridge Gold Inc., down 91 cents, or 9.7 percent, to $8.45.

— Goldcorp Inc., down 88 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $22.56.

— Kinross Gold Corp., down 19 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $4.63.

— Newmont Mining Corp., down $1.62, or 5.6 percent, to $27.31.

— NovaGold Resources Inc., down 10 cents, or 4.9 percent, to $1.94.