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Gold extends recent gains after tepid sales report

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The Associated Press | July 15, 2013 04:45 PM EST | AP

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Gold prices extended their recent climb Monday amid speculation the Federal Reserve will keep up its support for the U.S. economy.

The Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose just 0.4 percent in June. That's less than analysts had forecast and also slightly less than the previous month. Any sign of weak or tepid economic growth tends to support expectations that the Fed will stick with its bond-buying program.

Gold for August delivery rose $5.90 to $1,283.50 an ounce. Gold has settled higher on five of the last six trading days and is up 5 percent this month.

Silver for September inched up 4.7 cents to $19.839 an ounce, while copper for the same month slipped 1 cent to $3.1445 a pound.

Platinum-group metals gained 1 percent or more. October platinum climbed $14.50 to settle at $1,421.40 an ounce. Palladium for September delivery surged $9.25 to $732.15 an ounce.

In the market for grains and other crops, wheat fell 11.5 cents to $6.695 a bushel and corn fell 5.75 cents to $5.035.

Soybeans edged up 6.5 cents to $12.6375 a bushel.

In oil and gas trading, benchmark crude oil for August delivery gained 37 cents to close at $106.32.

Oil has climbed 10 percent so far this month, pushed up by unexpectedly sharp drops in U.S. crude and gasoline inventories. The ouster in early July of Egypt's president has helped lift crude prices, reflecting the risk of a supply disruption from a country that controls the Suez Canal.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

_ Wholesale gasoline lost 2 cents to $3.10 a gallon.

_ Heating oil was flat at $3.03 a gallon.

_ Natural gas rose 3 cents to $3.67 per 1,000 cubic feet.