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Old 01-04-2013, 01:27 PM   #479
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THEASSOCIATED PRESS | January 4, 2013 04:19 PM EST |

Gold is closing lower for a sixth straight week, its longest losing streak in eight years.

Gold lost $25.70 to settle at $1,648.90 an ounce Friday. It's now 8 percent below the recent peak of $1,792 an ounce it reached on Oct. 4. It rose as high as $1,900 an ounce in August 2011.

The latest decline came after the Federal Reserve released minutes of its December meeting showing that policymakers disagreed over how long to keep a bond-purchase program in place.

Traders inferred the Fed might shorten the program, which could send U.S. interest rates, and therefore the dollar, higher. That in turn would hurt the price of gold, which investors often buy as an alternative to holding dollars.

Other metals fell. Energy prices were mixed. Grains were lower.
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