Gold futures ended higher Wednesday, pacing gains in U.S. stock markets and crude-oil futures and finishing the year's trading up for the eighth consecutive time—the longest winning streak since at least 1980. The metal's annual gain, however, is the smallest since 2004. Gold for February delivery closed up $14.30, or 1.6%, at $884.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped to as low as $857.30 earlier. Futures ended the year up 5.5%.