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Gold caps 4-day drop; oil settles under $100

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Gold logged the biggest four-day drop since November after the Federal Reserve stoked the outlook for higher interest rates, underscoring Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s forecast that the 2014 rally would reverse.

Gold for April delivery fell 0.8 percent to finish at $1,330.50 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. 

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said yesterday the central bank’s stimulus program could end this fall and benchmark interest rates could rise about six months later. Policy makers cut monthly bond-buying by $10 billion at the conclusion of their two-day meeting yesterday, leaving purchases at $55 billion.  Following the news, the dollar rose and gold fell in electronic trading.

In other metals, silver prices took an even bigger hit today, with May silver losing 1.9 percent to end at $20.43 an ounce. Prices have lost about 2.7 percent over the past three sessions.

May high-grade copper lost 2 percent to $2.93 a pound. 

April platinum lost 1.2 percent to $1,434.80 an ounce, while June palladium finished up 0.5 percent to $771.65 an ounce.

In energy, West Texas Intermediate crude fell for the first time in three days as the dollar strengthened and U.S. stockpiles grew for a ninth week. Brent rose.

Crude-oil futures for April delivery shed 0.9 percent to end at $99.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The April contract expired at the Nymex close and contract expiration tends to add to volatility in the market.

May crude, which became the front-month contract, settled at $98.90 a barrel, down 0.3 percent.

The dollar rose for a second day against the euro after the Federal Reserve signaled yesterday it will probably raise interest rates by the middle of next year. Crude supplies climbed 25.6 million barrels in the nine weeks ended March 14. 

Brent for May settlement gained 0.6 percent to end the day at $106.35 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Brent rebounded after the U.S. announced sanctions targeting Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko, founder of Gunvor Group Ltd., and named Russia President Vladimir Putin as an investor in the company. 

Elsewhere in energy, natural-gas prices settled with a loss after weekly U.S. data showed a decline in stockpiles of the heating fuel that was less than expected.


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