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PRECIOUS-Gold rises as U.S. equities sell off on Ebola fears
October 1, 2014 / 10:04 AM / 3 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rises as U.S. equities sell off on Ebola fears

* First Ebola case in U.S. sends Wall Street tumbling

* Dollar pulls back from highs after U.S. jobs data

* Platinum slides to lowest since Sept. 2009 (Adds comment, NEW YORK to dateline, second byline, updates market activities)

By Frank Tang and Jan Harvey

NEW YORK/LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Wednesday, rebounding from the previous day’s nine-month low near $1,200 an ounce, as disappointing U.S. factory data sparked a selloff on Wall Street and prompted investors to seek a safe haven in the yellow metal.

Also underpinning bullion was a steadying U.S. dollar amid a drop in U.S. Treasury yields and weakness in global stocks. Sharply lower airlines and transport-related shares after the first diagnosis of Ebola in the United States also helped send the S&P 500 index down more than 1 percent.

Meanwhile, U.S. factory activity slowed more than expected in September even as hiring in the private sector accelerated, signs of an uneven expansion in the U.S. economy. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Wednesday its index of national factory activity dropped in August.

“The weak ISM data put pressure on equities and the dollar index, giving gold a boost. Gold at $1,200 an ounce also indicates better physical demand and less supply from mine production,” said Phillip Streible, senior commodities broker at Chicago-based RJO Futures.

Spot gold was up 0.5 percent at $1,214.45 an ounce by 2:10 p.m. (1610 GMT), having earlier slipping to within 10 cents of the previous day’s nine-month low at $1,204.40.

U.S. COMEX December gold futures settled up $3.90 an ounce at $1,215.50 in heavy trading.

Gold lost 9 percent in the third quarter, marking the sharpest monthly loss since June 2013 and first quarterly loss this year. It was weighed down after the U.S. Federal Reserve last month indicated it could raise borrowing costs faster than expected when it starts moving toward a tighter policy stance.

Holdings in the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares, fell 2.39 tonnes on Tuesday to 769.86 tonnes, the lowest since December 2008.

“Expect the beginning of the new quarter to attract some buyers for precious metals,” said George Gero, vice president at RBC Capital Markets.

Silver was up 1.4 percent at $17.18 an ounce, tracking gold’s rise.

Platinum group metal prices were supported by strong growth in U.S. auto sales led by General Motors and Chrysler. Palladium rose 1 percent to $776.25 an ounce.

Spot platinum, however, was down 0.9 percent at $1,281.74 an ounce, having earlier slid to its lowest since September 2009 at $1,256.30.

It tumbled nearly 13 percent in the last quarter, taking little support from a five-month strike in major producer South Africa earlier this year. (Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore, editing by William Hardy and Tom Brown)

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