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Metals Stocks: Gold drifts lower as haven demand wanes

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Gold futures edged lower Wednesday, with demand for havens continuing to ebb on signs the spread of COVID-19 in China may be slowing.

Gold for April delivery GCJ20, -0.01%  on Comex was off $1, or less than 0.1%, at $1,569 an ounce, while March silver SIH20, -0.38%  shed 7 cents, or 0.4%, at $17.52 an ounce.

Global equities were on the rise, with U.S. stock-index futures pointing to a higher open a day after the S&P 500 SPX, +0.17% and Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.11% closed at records for a second consecutive day, signaling a return of appetite for riskier assets.

China’s National Health Commission on Wednesday said 2,015 new cases of the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, had been reported over the last 24 hours, declining for a second day. That brought the number of cases in mainland China to 44,653, although experts have warned that a substantial number of infections may have gone uncounted. The commission said there were 97 additional deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the mainland total to 1,113.

Analysts said a hit to physical demand in China was also serving to keep a lid on the yellow metal

In China, “the virus is having a noticeable impact on physical gold demand. There, as well as in Hong Kong, many jewelers are shut because gold buyers are staying at home to avoid infection and are reducing their spending to the bare essentials,” said Daniel Briesemann, analyst at Commerzbank, in a note.

In other metals trade, April platinum PLJ20, -0.73%  fell 0.4% to $969.30 an ounce, while March palladium PAH20, -0.12%  was off 0.2% at 2,260.80 an ounce.

March copper HGH20, +0.60%  rose 0.8% to $2.603 a pound.