Australia markets closed

Gold Blows Away More Froth, But Retains $1,500 Grip - The profit-taking from last week that took some of the froth off gold’s seven-year highs was back on Monday, as markets continued to operate without fear of another U.S.-Iran blowup. Anticipation of the U.S.-China phase one deal also allowed some risk to creep back into markets, sending stocks on Wall Street to record highs.

Gold futures for February delivery on New York’s COMEX settled down $9.50, or 0.6%, at $1,550.60 per ounce.

Spot gold, which tracks live trades in bullion, was down $12.25, or 0.8%, at $1,549.78 by 2:40 PM ET (19:40 GMT).

Gold’s strong hold on the $1,500 berth, however, proved its standing as a safe haven against outsized risks, analysts said.

“Gold investors still have plenty to view in upcoming headlines, from Donald Trump’s impeachment to geopolitical problems in the euro zone and continued issues with Brexit,” said George Gero of the precious metals research unit at RBC Wealth Management.

Gold futures hit April 2013 highs of nearly $1,613 last week after Iran fired missiles at American airbases in Iraq in response to the U.S. killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3.

The missiles, however, didn’t kill any U.S. servicemen and President Donald Trump decided to stand down further escalation with Iran, dramatically easing tensions in the Middle East.

Social media was awash with images of protests in Tehran on Monday as Iranians took to the streets to condemn the Islamic Republic’s leadership after Tehran’s forces accidentally downed a Ukraine Airlines flight last while firing at the U.S. airbases in Iraq. But the protests were contained and didn’t lead to a spike in global risks.

On Wall Street, all the three major U.S. stock indexes hit record highs in anticipation of the U.S-China phase one, due to be signed Wednesday. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News late Sunday that China had promised to buy $40 billion to $50 billion worth of U.S. farm products annually and a total of $200 billion of U.S. goods over the next two years. Beijing hasn’t officially commented on any aspect of the forthcoming deal.

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