Gold futures hit 6-week high on Mideast conflict

Gold futures continued to gain momentum Friday, with the most active contract climbing to a six-week high of $669 an ounce as fighting raged in Lebanon and oil prices inched closer to $80 a barrel. At the New York Mercantile Exchange, the benchmark August gold contract settled $13.60 higher at $668 a troy ounce. The contract got as high as $669 an ounce just ahead of the close, as fund buying escalated. Traders said that with the current tensions in the Middle East and ongoing weapon issues with Iran and North Korea, no one wanted to go home with a short position. Gold made gains despite a firm U.S. dollar as the precious metal continues to attract safe-haven buying. Gold is also often viewed as a hedge against inflation.