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Gold and silver futures decline as stocks rally broadly on sharp increase in US factory output

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Gold and silver futures ended lower Monday as a rally in the stock market led investors to shy away from safe-haven assets.

The actively traded April contract for gold fell $6.10, or 0.4 percent, to $1,372.90 an ounce. Silver also fell. The May contract lost 14 cents to $21.28 an ounce.

Prices for precious metals, U.S. government bonds and other safe-play assets declined as the stock market surged Monday following news that factory output rose sharply last month.

That bolstered the growing view that a slowdown in the U.S. economy this winter was temporary and may pass once the extreme winter weather abates. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1 percent and returned to positive territory for the year.

Other metals contracts ended mixed. Copper for May delivery edged up less than a penny to $2.95 a pound. April platinum fell $1.20 to $1,468.40 an ounce and June palladium rose $3.15 to $776.40 an ounce.

In agricultural products, wheat and corn futures fell and soybeans gained.

May wheat fell 13 cents to $6.75 a bushel and corn for delivery in the same month fell 7 cents to $4.78 a bushel. May soybeans rose 3 cents to $13.92 a bushel.

Energy contracts ended mixed.

Crude oil fell 81 cents to close at $98.08 a barrel in New York.

Natural gas rose 11 cents to $4.54 per 1,000 cubic feet as forecasts call for cooler-than-normal temperatures in the Northern parts of the U.S. through the end of March.

Wholesale gasoline fell 8 cents to $2.88 a gallon and heating oil dropped 5 cents to $2.89 a gallon.

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