NEW YORK (AP) -- Gold barreled above $800 an ounce Wednesday for the first time since 1980 as investors cheered the Federal Reserve's decision to lower its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point. The Fed dropped its federal funds rate to 4.50 percent, as the markets widely anticipated. Lower interest rates tend to undermine the dollar and raise the allure of precious metals as an investment alternative. The dollar stumbled to another low against the euro following the Fed's decision on Wednesday, helping drive gold higher. Although the regular trading sessions of most commodities markets were closed before the Fed released its decision, gold prices continued to climb in aftermarket trading. An ounce of gold gained $7.50 to settle at $795.30 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, then rose to a high of $800.80 ounce in later electronic activity. Gold last topped $800 an ounce in 1980, when prices reached as high as $875 an ounce in January. Adjusted for inflation, an $800 ounce of gold in 1980 would be worth more than $2,000 today. While the $800 mark means something less than it did 27 years ago, gold prices have surged roughly $150 an ounce since mid-August and that means consumers could see prices on gold jewelry go up ahead of the holiday season. But some jewelers say gold at $800 an ounce still isn't high enough to dent demand. "Last time it was the talk of the town," said Keith Hurdle, owner of Hurdle's Jewelry in Boulder, Colo., referring to gold's last foray above $800. "Not anymore, they don't even ask. If the piece is in their price range, they're fine." In its statement, the Fed said strains in the financial markets have eased somewhat since the summer's turmoil. But the central bank also cautioned that an intensifying housing slump could slow the pace of economic growth and warned that increasing energy and commodity prices raise the risks of inflation. The euro, which hit a high for the fourth straight trading day, bought a record over $1.45 in late trading on Wednesday. "Gold is a hedge against uncertainty, against currency volatility," said Carlos Sanchez, precious metals analyst with CPM Group. "It's a hedge against inflation. All this going on is supportive of higher gold prices." December silver jumped 11 cents to close at $14.438 an ounce on the Nymex. January platinum added $6.70 to end at $1,447.60 an ounce on the Nymex. Following the Fed's rate cut, energy prices extended a rally that was begun early in the session after the government posted a surprising draw on crude oil inventories for the second week in a row. Light, sweet crude for December delivery gained $4.15 to settle at $94.53 a barrel on the Nymex, after briefly hitting a record $94.74. Like gold, oil has approached the inflation-adjusted highs of early 1980. Depending on the calculation, a $38 barrel of crude then would fetch $96 to $101 or more today. The Energy Information Administration reported U.S. stockpiles of crude plunged by 3.9 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 26, compared with analysts' consensus forecast for a gain of 100,000 barrels. Expectations had ranged between a build of 2 million barrels and a draw of 2.6 million barrels. Gasoline inventories rose by 1.3 million barrels, while distillate inventories increased by 800,000 barrels. Analysts had expected moderate decreases of both. Gasoline futures for November rose 8.29 cents to $2.34 a gallon. November heating oil futures added 8.32 cents to $2.5078 a gallon. The November contracts for gas and heating oil expired at the session's end. Base metals ended mixed on the London Metal Exchange, with nickel, copper and lead finishing higher while zinc and aluminum prices slipped. Copper for December delivery on the Nymex slipped 0.85 cent to close at $3.473 a pound. Agriculture futures also ended mixed after a choppy week that has seen prices move in tandem with other markets, including equities. "We're down one day, up the next," said DTN analyst Gary Wilhelmi. "Outside markets are strong influences." Wheat for December delivery fell 6 cents to $8.08 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybeans for January picked up 16.5 cents to $10.2575 a bushel, while December corn rose 5.25 cents to $3.755 a bushel.