- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Gold prices posted a modest gain on Monday amid weakness in both stocks and the dollar ahead of companies’ first-quarter earnings reports.

Oil prices were lower, while grain futures were mixed.

Often seen as a save-haven investment, gold has largely been taking cues from both Wall Street and the currency markets as of late. On Monday, investors were hesitant to place big bets in either stocks or currencies, fearful that companies’ reports might show more weakness in the economy.

Investors had been more upbeat in recent weeks, sending stocks and the dollar higher on the hope the economy could be turning around. This has hurt demand for gold.

But earnings reports _ and companies’ outlooks for the remainder of the year _ will likely dictate where the markets go from here, and whether Wall Street will be able to build on a massive five-week advance that has pulled the major indexes up from 12-year lows.

Gold tends to benefit when the dollar falls because it is used as a hedge against inflation, which can be triggered by a weak greenback. At the same time, gold can also do well when Wall Street struggles with increased volatility and uncertainty.

Gold for June delivery rose $12.50 to settle at $895.80 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Other metals also rose. May silver jumped 43.8 cents to $12.7680 an ounce, while May copper futures gained 5.45 cents to $2.1255 a pound.

On Wall Street, stocks closed off their earlier lows. The Dow Jones industrials finished down just 26 points after earlier falling as much as 120 points. Broader indexes posted gains.

Oil prices also recovered from earlier lows, settling down $2.19 to $50.05 a barrel on the Nymex after earlier falling to as low as $48.84.

Gasoline for May delivery fell 1.78 cents to settle at $1.4632 a gallon and heating oil dropped 3.08 cents to settle at $1.3980 a gallon.

Grain prices were mixed on the Chicago Board of Trade.

July wheat futures inched up 1.25 cents to $5.3475 a bushel, while corn for July delivery slipped 2.5 cents to $3.9725 a bushel.

May soybeans rose 14.5 cents to $10.2150 a bushel.

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