US gold off at midmorning; oil weak, trade bearish


NEW YORK, June 25 (Reuters) - Bearish sentiment and weaker crude oil prices sent U.S. gold futures lower in quiet trade by midmorning on Monday as investors held their bets because of a slew of economic indicators scheduled for later this week, traders said.

"As far as the metals are concerned, it's really lackluster," Jonathan Jossen, an independent trader, said from the COMEX floor.

At 10:36 a.m. EDT (1436 GMT), gold for August delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange's COMEX division was down $3.00 at $654.00 an ounce, dealing from $651.60 to $657.70.

Jossen said that investor sentiment was largely bearish and buying interest was lacking because of a host of factors including a higher interest-rate environment, weaker oil prices and sagging stock markets.

Jossen said that volume was light as investors were on the sidelines due to the release of heavyweight U.S. economic indicators this week -- which include the new home sales report on Tuesday, durable goods data on Wednesday and Thursday's gross domestic product report and the Federal Reserve's rate-setting decision.

U.S. oil futures were down $1.05 at $68.09 a barrel in Monday morning trade on news that export from an abandoned Nigerian oilfield could resume.

Gold is generally seen as a hedge against oil-led inflation.

Jon Nadler, analyst at Kitco Bullion Dealers, said in a note to clients that selling in the precious metals continued early Monday as crude oil prices eased and stocks still reeled from their weakness from Friday.

"The potential for stock market margin calls giving rise to liquidations across the precious metals complex continues to weigh heavily on traders' minds this morning," Nadler said.

Spot gold fell to $650.60/651.20 an ounce, compared with $653.60/655.10 an ounce late Friday. The London gold fix was set at $650.75.

COMEX July silver was down 14.0 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $12.88 an ounce. It hit a session low of $12.81, the weakest since May 17. July silver reached a session high of $13.07 in early sessions.

Spot silver was quoted at $12.91/12.94 an ounce, sharply below the late Friday quote of $13.04/13.08. London silver was fixed at $12.96 an ounce.

NYMEX July platinum fell $23.30, or 1.8 percent, to $1,284.70 an ounce. Spot platinum was traded at $1,278/1,282 an ounce.

September palladium dropped $7.45, or 2 percent, to $374.50 an ounce. Spot palladium fetched at $368.00/372.00.



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