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Gold Futures Settle Lower As Equities, Dollar Move Up

Gold futures settled lower on Monday, retreating after scoring strong gains in the previous session, as investors sought riskier assets such as equities amid easing worries about the impact of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus on the global economy.

Markets in Asia and Europe closed on a firm note on Monday. The major U.S. averages are up sharply, with the Dow climbing 2.2%, the S&P 500 rising 1.62% and the Nasdaq surging up 1.25%.

A stronger dollar weighed as well on the yellow metal. The dollar index climbed to 96.43 amid rising expectations the Federal Reserve will begin tapering its bond-buying, and start hiking rates sooner than earlier thought. The dollar index pared some gains subsequently and was at 96.33, up nearly 0.25% from the previous close.

The central bank's monetary policy meeting is scheduled to take place on December 14 & 15.

Gold futures for February ended down $4.40 or about 0.3% at $1,779.50 an ounce.

Silver futures for March ended lower by $0.218 at $22.263 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $4.3375 per pound, gaining $0.0705.

Early indications of the severity of the Omicron Covid-19 variant are "a bit encouraging," top U.S. pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci said Sunday, adding that it was too early to draw definitive conclusions and more information was still needed.

South Africa reported that Omicron is not leading to higher hospitalization rates despite a jump in active cases.

Traders also noted comments from Chinese authorities that the government's recent policy moves were not intended to crack down on specific industry or private firms and did not necessarily target overseas listings of companies.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission said that its recent regulations were aimed to protect the interests and data security of small- and medium-sized firms, as well as personal information security.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said last week that Beijing would continue to implement a prudent monetary policy and would reduce the reserve requirement ratio as required.

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