COMMODITIES : Precious Metals Rise, Led by Gold

From Times Wire Services

Gold led a modest increase in precious metals futures prices Monday as investors interpreted a weaker dollar and higher crude oil prices as a sign inflation might be rearing its head in the U.S. economic future.

In other markets, soybean futures prices lost some of Friday's gains when follow-through buying by the Soviet Union failed to materialize, and cattle futures prices were supported by strong spot market levels even though packers were expected to slaughter fewer animals because of the holiday-shortened week.

Gold on the New York Commodity Exchange settled $5.70 to $6.70 an ounce higher, with the November contract at $475.40 an ounce, and silver was 28 cents to 30.8 cents higher, with November at 694.2 an ounce.

Grain futures prices were mostly higher, while soybeans futures were mostly lower on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybean prices began the day under pressure and opened below Friday's closing prices as analysts blamed the lack of an announcement on follow-through buying by the Soviet Union.

Last Thursday, the Soviets tendered to purchase about 700,000 tons of U.S. soy meal, and rumors of a big buy supported Friday's strong showings. Because that failed to materialize, the beans spent much of Monday struggling to reach positive price territory.

But the Soviets also bought grain last week and ideas they would be making more purchases this week guaranteed wheat futures a solid run-up.

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