The price of gold fell for a sixth day after billionaire investor George Soros cut his holdings in the precious metal.
June gold fell $9.30, or 0.7 percent, to $1,386.90 an ounce.
Soros disclosed in a regulatory filing late Wednesday that he had reduced his holdings in an exchange-traded gold fund by almost 12 percent in the first quarter.
“This morning, people are reading that the popular money managers … have pared their gold holdings,” said George Gero, a vice president at RBC Global Futures. “The path of least resistance is down, at least for now.”
The price of gold logged its biggest drop in 30 years on April 15, on concern that Cyprus would sell some of its gold reserves to support its banks. The precious metal rebounded, but is still trading at its lowest in a month.
Interest in gold as an alternative investment has also waned over the past five months as the U.S. stock market has rallied, Gero said. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is 16.3 percent higher this year, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 15.7 percent.
The downward momentum for gold was so strong that it fell even after some downbeat reports on the economy. Bad news for growth usually fuels demand for gold because investors expect that it will lead to more stimulus from the Federal Reserve. In theory, that should weaken the dollar and stoke inflation — two positive factors for gold.
Applications for unemployment benefits rose last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Manufacturing contracted in the mid-Atlantic region, according to a survey by the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve.
In other metals trading, platinum also fell. Copper, palladium and silver rose.
Copper for July delivery rose 2.95 cents to $3.295 a pound, and silver for the same month was unchanged at $22.659 an ounce. Palladium for June delivery gained $11.70, or 1.6 percent, to $740.75 an ounce. Platinum for July delivery fell $5.10, or 0.3 percent, to $1,485.60 an ounce.
Energy prices settled mostly higher. The price of oil rose 86 cents a barrel, or 0.9 percent, to $95.16.
In agricultural products trading, wheat and corn fell and soybeans rose.
Wheat for July delivery fell 6 cents to $6.8775 a bushel. Corn for July delivery fell 9.25 cents to $6.4150 a bushel. July soybeans rose 14.75 cents to $14.275 a bushel.