MW: Gold rises first day in three on safe-haven buying
By Moming Zhou, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) - Gold futures rose Monday for the first time in three sessions, rallying more than 5% as worries that the $700 billion bailout plan may not be enough to rescue the financial market boosted demand for gold as a safe haven.
Congress passed a revised version of the massive rescue plan Friday to bail out the ailing financial industry, but the move didn't calm investors. Stock markets around the world slumped Monday, while credit markets continue to tighten.
"Of most concern to the markets is the question of whether the recent bailout bill will be enough to break the logjam in the credit markets," wrote Edward Meir, a commodities analyst at futures brokerage MF Global. "It seems the markets are answering our last question with a resounding no."
Gold for December surged $41.80, or 5.1%, to $875 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Investors tend to seek safe haven in gold when the economy falls into turmoil.
Stocks in Europe and Asia slumped on Monday, while U.S. stocks tumbled. Crude-oil dropped more than 4% in early electronic trading on worries that a slowing global economy will dampen energy demand.
Lending conditions remained tight in short-term money markets Monday. The cost of overnight borrowing in dollars rose, with a key interest-rate benchmark the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, rising to above 2%. See full story.
Also reflecting investors' worries, the U.S. dollar tumbled against the Japanese yen. Rising risk aversion has led traders to shun once-popular carry trades, which centered on borrowing in yen and using the funds to buy assets denominated in higher-yielding currencies.
The yen has maintained a close correlation with levels of risk aversion during the worsening financial crisis. A falling greenback tends to boost dollar-denominated gold prices as it makes the gold more appealing as an investment alternative.
The dollar, however, was rising against the euro and British pound, mostly due to Europe's own financial troubles. See Currencies.
Gold finished last week's volatile trading down more than 6%, as investors awaited Congress's decision on the bailout plan. Despite recent heavy selling pressure, some analysts said they remain optimistic that prices will rebound.
"The way the government is dealing with [the financial industry] is simply throwing money into the financial sector," said Jeffrey Nichols, managing director at American Precious Metals Advisors. "In the long run all this is going to translate into higher inflation, which is bullish for gold."
In other metals Monday, platinum for October delivery rose slightly to $958.70 an ounce, while December palladium gained $1.55, or 0.8%, to $203.40 an ounce. December silver rose 6.5 cents, or 0.6% to $11.39 an ounce.
December copper slumped 14.5 cents, or 5.4%, to $2.55 a pound.
In spot trading, the London gold-fixing price -- used as a benchmark for gold for immediate delivery -- stood at $836.50 an ounce Monday morning local time, up $8.50 from Friday afternoon.