Gold futures fell for the second straight day as gains in the U.S. economy boosted speculation that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates soon.

Retail sales in November jumped the most in eight months, and the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to a three-week low, government reports showed today. The dollar and the Standard & Poors 500 Index of stocks rose, eroding the appeal of gold as an alternative investment. Yesterday, the metal dropped 0.2 percent.

On Dec. 9, gold reached a six-week high as global equities tumbled, increasing demand for a haven. Swings in oil prices have boosted volatility in the metal as investors weigh muted inflation. Fed officials will meet next week to discuss the timing of the first benchmark rate increase since 2006.

Gold futures for February delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle at $1,225.60 an ounce at 1:48 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Two days ago, the price reached $1,239, the highest since Oct. 23.

Source : Bloomberg