Gold prices sank Thursday following news that U.S. employers stepped up hiring last month.
Gold for August delivery fell $10.30 to settle at $1,320.60 an ounce. Silver dropped 17 cents to $21.14 an ounce.
The Labor Department said employers added 288,000 workers to their payrolls last month. The news sank gold prices, because higher economic growth leads traders to speculate that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates sooner than expected. Higher interest rates tend to sap demand for precious metals and lure traders into investments that pay income, such as bonds.
Gold plunged 28 percent last year, as the Federal Reserve said it would start winding down part of its economic stimulus effort.
In other trading, copper for September climbed 1 cent to settle at $3.28 a pound on Thursday. That’s the highest price for the metal since February 21, according to FactSet.
A batch of encouraging economic reports out of China and the U.S. helped drive copper up 3.4 percent this week. China is the world’s top buyer of the metal; the U.S. is the runner-up.
Platinum for October delivery slipped $3.80 to $1,507.70 an ounce, and palladium for September delivery rose $4.50 to $861.90 an ounce.
Crop futures were mixed.
Wheat edged up four cents to $5.80 a bushel, corn fell three cents to $4.15 a bushel and soybeans fell eight cents to $11.34 a bushel.