COMMODITIES: The Rush That Wasn't

Had previous U.S. gold rushes gone anything like the one that began last week, California would have been short of settlers and Poet Robert Service would never have written about the cremation of Sam McGee in the Klondike. Legally free as of Dec. 31 to buy bullion for the first time in 41 years, Americans greeted the opportunity with a veteran prospector's wariness of fool's gold. The caution seemed justified. By week's end, after three full days of trading in the yellow metal, gold's price stood at $174 per ounce on the bellwether London Gold Market, down 12% from the...

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