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By noon EDT, spot gold was down $4.50 at $1,232.60 an ounce.
But gold futures for December delivery shot up to trade near a four-week high. They gained 0.2% to $1,232.70 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Earlier this morning, they touched $1,238.60 an ounce - the highest since mid-September. Gold ETFs are seeing their first inflows in over a month.
Here's what's moving gold prices today:
- Uncertainty in the markets: Tuesday morning, most of the economic leaders in Europe, including Spain, France, and Italy, reported that consumer prices in September were under their levels from a year earlier. Germany adjusted down its growth forecast from 1.9% and 2% in 2014 and 2015, to 1.3% and 1.2%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 last week posted its largest weekly decline in two years. Deteriorating global growth is good for gold prices because people pull out of equities and opt for safer assets like gold.
- Fresh Fed comments: On Monday, U.S. Federal Reserve officials hinted that they may delay hiking interest rates. Interest rates are important for gold investors because lower rates make gold a more attractive investment.
- A weaker U.S. dollar: Last week, the dollar suffered its biggest weekly loss in six months. Then yesterday, the greenback notched its worst day in a year. While the greenback is higher today due to bad Eurozone numbers, it's still much lower than the four-year high it saw in late September. A weaker dollar strengthens gold, because the yellow metal is priced in U.S. dollars.
- Quote of the hour: "Gold wasn't interesting for many investors because they could invest in stocks, but right now, the fact that the gold price can be a hedge against stock market turmoil is coming back into the minds of investors," LBBW commodity analyst Thorsten Proettel said to CNBC this afternoon.
Money Morning's bottom line: No matter where gold prices are headed in coming months, owning gold is an important part of a healthy portfolio. Check out our chief investment strategest's two-part "cheat sheet" that will help you figure out exactly how much you should own, to the dollar, here...