On Wednesday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for December — the most active contract — fell $22 to close at $1,390 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures dropped $1.01 to finish at $23.42. It was gold’s lowest close in about two weeks.
Both precious metals received heavy selling pressure as politicians discussed taking definitive action against Syria for much of the day. Senator John McCain — who was caught playing poker on his smartphone during a congressional hearing earlier in the week — decided not to support a Senate resolution authorizing limited strikes in Syria. McCain had previously been a strong advocate for action against Syria, but told reporters that “in its current form, I do not” support the measure.
Furthermore, the Federal Reserve appears set to dial down its bond purchases in the near future. The central bank’s latest beige book report, a summary of economic conditions across the country, was mostly positive as national economic activity “continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace” between early July and late August.
The Fed also notes that consumer spending increased in most districts, while activity in the residential real estate markets “increased moderately.” The manufacturing sector also expanded “modestly” during the reporting period.
Heading into the close, shares of the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) fell 1.6 percent, while the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) plunged 3.5 percent. Gold miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) and Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY) both declined more than 1 percent. Shares of Endeavour Silver (NYSE:EXK) dropped 4.3 percent. However, most of the names pared losses in the final minutes of trading, due to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee authorizing military action against Syria.
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Disclosure: Long EXK, AG, HL, PHYS