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Gold and silver prices settle lower after jumping
Precious metals » Nerves calmer in the quiet aftermath of the plane being shot down.
First Published Jul 18 2014 02:23 pm • Last Updated Jul 18 2014 02:23 pm

Gold prices settled lower to end the week, a day after concerns about a conflict between Russia and Ukraine shot prices up.

Gold for August delivery fell $7.50, or 0.6 percent, to $1,309.40 an ounce. Silver for September sank 25 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $20.89.

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Markets were rattled on Thursday following news that a passenger plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine, a battleground where government troops have been fighting Russian-backed separatists. Speculation that tensions between Russia and Ukraine could boil over sent traders into precious metals.

Dan Walsh, market strategist at RJ O’Brien & Associates in Chicago, says that with no escalation on Friday, traders were more willing to buy riskier assets, like stocks. Gold and U.S. government bond prices sank, while the stock market made gains.

Walsh cautioned that the situation is still fluid. Any new development could drive traders out of riskier investments and into precious metals and other hiding spots.

Traders often shift money into gold in anticipation of a crisis. In March, gold prices hit a high point for the year on concerns over a territorial dispute between Russia and Ukraine.

Industrial metals also settled lower Friday. Copper for September fell 4 cents to $3.18 a pound. Platinum for October dropped $13.80 to $1,489.90 an ounce, while palladium for September dropped $3.60 to $881.50 an ounce.

Wheat lost 19 cents to $5.32 a bushel. Corn fell 9 cents to $3.79 a bushel, and soybeans slipped 9 cents to $10.85 a bushel.

In the market for oil and gas, crude oil slipped 6 cents to end at $103.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other trading on the Nymex:

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— Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $2.86 a gallon.

— Heating oil shed 1 cent to $2.85 a gallon.

— Natural gas was unchanged at $3.95 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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