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Gold pulls back under pressure from stronger US dollar

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Gold fell early today as investors opted for cash prior to the Christmas break, buying the US dollar, which is seen as an alternative investment to the yellow metal.

However, the American currency eased later in the session after better than expected US data curbed demand for the safe-haven greenback.

The Department of Labor reported that initial applications for unemployment benefits declined 4,000 to 364,000 last week, with the four week average hitting three years lows.

Likewise, today’s consumer confidence data was strong with the University of Michigan saying its sentiment gauge rose for the fourth month in a row, climbing from 64.1 in November to 69.9 this month.

The positive impact from the employment and confidence data was partly offset by a downward revision of the US third quarter GDP estimate from 2 percent to 1.8 percent announced by the Commerce Department today.

Gold traded at US$1,604/oz, down US$10 from Wednesday’s close. Silver fell 23 cents to US$29.09/oz and platinum declined US$9 to US$1,416/oz.

Today’s top risers were:

Central Rand Gold (LON:CRND)
, up 19.5 percent at 1.35 pence

African Consolidated Resources (LON:AFCR)
, up 12.5 percent at 2.95 pence

Angel Mining (LON:ANGM), up 9 percent at 1.72 pence

Norseman Gold (LON:NGL)
, up 7.5 percent at 5.35 pence

Triple Plate Junction (LON:TPJ), up 6.5 percent at 5.18 pence

The top fallers were:

Alecto Minerals (LON:ALO)
, down 14.5 percent at 1.5 pence

Caledonia Mining (LON:CMCL), down 11 percent at 6 pence

North River Resources (LON:NRRP), down 9.5 percent at 1.4 pence

Minco (LON:MIO), down 8.5 percent at 2.75 pence

Peninsular Gold (LON:PGL), down 8 percent at 23.5 pence

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