Gold Settles Higher To Kick Of Second-quarter Trade

By Mark DeCambre Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Gold prices ended in positive territory Monday, with the precious metal shaking off early softness to log a second straight gain, as assets perceived as risky came under pressure in late-morning trade in New York. June gold settled up $2.80, or 0.2%, at $1,254 an ounce, adding to Friday's advance. The move for the precious metal comes as U.S. equity benchmarks, notably the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index , retreated firmly to kick off second-quarter trade, following a report on U.S. manufacturing that disappointed Wall Street traders. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index fell slightly to 57.2% last month from 57.7% in February. That reading was a bit below the 57.8% forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch. A reading of 50 or better indicates economic expansion. Precious metals also gained amid news of explosions on a St. Petersburg's subway on Monday which killed at least 10 people. Seen as a haven asset, gold tends to draw bidders on news of attacks or during political uncertainty.

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