Gold futures finished down on Friday, closing at their lowest levels in about a month as the prospect of an interest-rate hike by the Federal Reserve weighed on the precious metal. December gold settled $5.90, or 0.5%, lower at $1,141.40 an ounce, its worst settlement price since Sept. 1. However, the yellow metal ended with a monthly gain of 2.4% despite a more than $28-an-ounce tumble on Thursday that followed a policy statement from the Fed. The statement surprised investors by hinting at the possibility of raising benchmark interest rates as early as the central bank's next meeting in December. The hawkish tone has been a drag on gold, which has enjoyed one of its best monthly gains since about August on the belief that rates would remain lower for longer. Higher rates are a drag on gold because it doesn't bear interest.
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