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Stocks close with small gains; gold hits 5-year low

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 4, 2013. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stocks ended higher Monday after an early morning dip. However, it was gold that took the spotlight as it sank to its lowest level in five years.

In late afternoon trading gold slumped $37.50, about 3.3 percent, to $1,094.40, taking down the share prices of precious metal companies like Newmont Mining.

At the close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up nearly 14 points, about 0.1 percent, at 18,100.4. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 1.64 points, about 0.1 percent, to 2,128.3. The Nasdaq climbed 8.7 points, about 0.2 percent, to nearly 5,219.

At the same time, the price of the Sept. 15 contract for benchmark U.S. crude oil was down 95 cents at $50.26 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

According to a Reuters reports the spot gold price fell to its weakest level since March 2010. Reuters said the price slide began when sellers in China offloaded the precious metal, pressuring prices.

Not only gold was affected. Bloomberg News reported that the rout in commodities deepened with prices touching the lowest since 2002 as the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates sent gold tumbling.

Raw materials are losing favor with investors as the dollar gains amid signals from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that the central bank may raise rates this year on the back of an improving U.S. economy. Higher borrowing costs curb the attractiveness of commodities such as gold, which doesn't pay interest or give returns like assets including bonds and equities.

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