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Signs of economic recovery luring traders away from gold investments

NEW YORK--Gold prices are settling lower as more signs of growth in the U.S. economy draw traders away from precious metals.

Gold for June delivery fell US$6.20 to settle at US$1,284.60 an ounce on Thursday.

Silver for May lost 25 cents to US$19.81 an ounce.

The U.S. service sector grew in March, according to the Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index. The industry survey, out Thursday, also showed hiring picking up.

Better economic reports have helped drag down gold prices over the past month. An improving economy makes it more likely that the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates next year, weakening the appeal of gold and other precious metals as investments.

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