Cyprus Simmers, Gold Rush Continues

Investors kept plowing money into gold on Tuesday, seeking a safe-haven investment as tension over the bank bailout in Cyprus intensified.

Gold for April delivery was up $6.70 to $1,611.30 per ounce, even as prices fell for other key metals, oil and many U.S. stocks.

The financial crisis in Cyprus has thrown markets around the world into disarray since Monday. Europe's bailout plan for the small country included taxing deposits in the country's banks -- essentially making anyone with money in a bank help pay for the bailout. The plan met harsh resistance, and Cyprus lawmakers rejected it on Tuesday.

For many investors, tension like that is a prime opportunity for buying gold, which can be viewed as a low-risk investment in times of geopolitical or economic turmoil.

"The situation in Cyprus has caused uncertainty," said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco.com. "We're hearing all kinds of rumors and reports, and that's caused further unease."

Industrial metals were down. May copper fell 2.25 cents to $3.4055 per pound. June palladium plunged $29.65, nearly 4 percent, to $735.20 per ounce. April platinum fell $23.80, or 1.5 percent, to $1,555.40 per ounce.

May silver was virtually flat, slipping 3.1 cents to $28.843 per ounce.

Benchmark oil for April delivery fell $1.58 to $92.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, dropped $2.06 to $107.45 per barrel in London.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline lost 8 cents to $3.05 a gallon. Heating oil fell 6 cents to $2.86 a gallon.

Natural gas was the exception. It rose 9 cents to $3.97 per 1,000 cubic feet, boosted by predictions that cold weather will continue through the rest of the month.

Prices for key agricultural commodities were split. Wyckoff said they have struggled for direction in the absence of any major macroeconomic news, though that could change when the government releases the "planting intentions" report at the end of the month.

Prices for wheat and corn both rose more than 1 percent. Wheat was up 9.25 cents to $7.22 per bushel. Corn rose 8.5 cents to $7.285 per bushel. Soybeans slipped, edging down 2.75 cents to $14.0675 per bushel.


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