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Gold reaches an all-time high as Wall St suffers

THE Dow and the S&P 500 fell in a volatile session yesterday as fears that a $1 trillion bailout for Europe won’t solve the region’s deep-seated problems blunted an improving US economic picture.

In a session marked by little news and low volume compared with recent days, investors dumped stocks in afternoon trading as worries about Europe’s ability to contain Greece’s fiscal problems crept back into the market.

Gold hit a new all-time high above $1,230 an ounce as investors sought the perceived safety of the precious metal, while falling crude oil prices hit shares of energy companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. The Arca Gold Bugs Index, which measures the performance of 16 gold miners’ stocks, surged 6 per cent.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 36.88 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 10,748.26. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 3.94 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 1,155.79. But the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.64 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 2,375.31.