New York/London: Gold prices edged lower for a fifth day in a row on Monday, marking their longest losing streak in seven months as investors stuck with equity markets after US stocks hit another record high.
Caution ahead of the latest European Central Bank policy meeting and a rash of key U.S. data due this week also kept gold bulls at bay.
The spot price of gold was down 0.6 percent at USD 1,243 an ounce by 4:00 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT). The session bottom of USD 1,240.69 marked a four-month low, with the previous level set on Feb. 3.
US gold futures` most-active August contract settled down USD 2, or about 0.2 percent, at USD 1,244 an ounce.
On Wall Street, both the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 hit intraday record highs and remained in positive territory after a closely watched gauge of US manufacturing was corrected to show more strength than initially indicated.
"There`s a sort of growing sense that we don`t really need gold or alternative investments when stocks are doing so well," said Adrian Day, principal at Adrian Day Asset Management in Annapolis, Maryland, which has USD 160 million in assets.
In Europe, the ECB is tipped to announce a package of policy options after its meeting on Thursday, following heavy hints that monetary policy will be loosened in a variety of ways to support growth.
On Friday, U.S. non-farm payrolls data, the official monthly reading on the labor market in the world`s largest economy, will be released.
Both events will be closely watched by gold traders for their impact on currencies and U.S. monetary policy.PHYSICAL DEMAND SOFT
Physical demand for gold was also weak, with the falling bullion price doing little to entice jewellery makers as well as banks that stock gold for insurance.
In China, banks were adequately stocked with gold from last year`s record imports and were looking to sell inventories.
"On the physical side, the trade remained largely anaemic, with few changes to near flat Shanghai Gold Exchange premiums to (spot prices) last month," VTB Capital said in a note.
Adding to the bearish sentiment was a public holiday on Monday for key gold markets in Hong Kong and China.
Hedge funds and money managers cut their bullish wagers on U.S. gold futures and options to the lowest in nearly four months, weekly data released by the U.S. Commodity Futures and Trading Commission on Friday showed.
Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.2 percent at USD 18.71 an ounce, after Friday`s 11-month low of USD 18.60. Spot platinum was down 0.9 percent at USD 1,431.24 an ounce, while spot palladium was down 0.3 percent at USD 829.80 an ounce.
First Published: Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 04:38