By The Associated Press
Gold prices climbed Wednesday amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates at record lows.
Gold for August delivery rose $7.80 to settle at $1,324.30 an ounce on Wednesday. Silver for September rose 6 cents to $21.07 an ounce.
In minutes from its June meeting released Wednesday, Fed officials agreed that the central bank will stop buying bonds to support the economy in October but showed no inclination to increase the Fed's benchmark interest rate anytime soon.
The Fed's efforts to support the economy since the financial crisis in 2008 have lured many traders into gold. Many buy precious metals as protection against inflation and a falling dollar, two risks associated with low interest rates.
Metal prices had settled in regular trading for the day before the minutes were released, then climbed higher afterward in electronic trading. U.S. stocks and Treasury bond prices rose, pushing yields down.
Industrial metals ended mixed. Copper for September dropped a penny to $3.25. Platinum for October rose $10.40 to $1,506.90 an ounce while palladium for September slipped 20 cents to $872.70 an ounce.
In other trading, corn dropped six cents to $3.98 a bushel. Wheat fell 5 cents to $5.51 a bushel, and soybeans fell 13 cents to $11.04 a bushel.
Crude oil sank $1.11 to close at $102.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
Wholesale gasoline fell 3.5 cents to close at $2.938 a gallon.
Natural gas fell 3.4 cents to close at $4.17 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Heating oil fell 0.3 cent to close at $2.871 a gallon.