Gold futures settled sharply higher Monday, extending a climb toward a six-month peak, underpinned by a weaker dollar and a rout in the stock market. February gold GCG9, +1.14%[1] advanced $13.70, or 1.1%, to finish at $1,271.80 an ounce. The gold market closed at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time, an hour earlier on Christmas Eve. The surge for the yellow metal, to a its highest since June, comes as the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -2.91%[2] and the S&P 500 index SPX, -2.71%[3] are down by about 2% and on pace for the worst month since 2008. That risk-off dynamic has given gold a lift, driving investors seeking the perceived safety of the the yellow metal. Meanwhile, weakness in the dollar, as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.31%[4] down 0.4% at 96.53, also has helped to lift the precious metal. Weakness in the buck can support gold prices because gold is priced in dollars and a stronger currency can diminish appetite for the commodity for investors using other monetary units.

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