The dollar was mixed in Europe and generally weaker in New York yesterday, but it posted a moderate gain against the yen following Japan's decision not to buy oil from Iran.

Gold fell sharply in light trading, reflecting talk of a U.S. recession.

Gold dropped $18 in Zurich to $497.50 from $515.50 Friday. In London gold also closed at $497.50 an ounce, down $15 from Friday's close of $512.50. In New York it dropped to $490.50 on the cash market compared with $511.50 Friday. The Comex settlement price was $488.30, down from $510,20.

Silver was selling for $13.50 an ounce on the cash market, down from $14.35, and silver speculators on the Comex settled for $13.40, down from $14.12 Friday.

In Tokyo the dollar closed at 249.85 yen, up from 248.80 Friday, and it eased to 249.70 yen in New York.

European closing prices with late New York quotes in parentheses:

Zurich, 1.7255 Swiss francs, up from 1.7185 (1.7220); Paris, 4.30375 francs, up from 4.3025 (4,3015); Amsterdam, 2,0350 guilders, up from 2,0340 (2.03); Milian, 868.55 lira, down from 869.05 (867.40); Frankfurt, 1.8518 marks, down from 1.8335 (1.8464); and Brussels, 30.435 Belgian francs, down from 30.475 (29.73).

In London the pound rose to $2.2330 from $2.22; in New York it surged to $2.2415.