Gold briefly reclaims $1,800
Prices claw their way higher as a weaker US dollar and haven buying boost the metal.
By Alix Steel, TheStreet
Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET
Gold prices briefly tiptoed back above $1,800 an ounce Tuesday as a weaker U.S. dollar and haven buying supported the metal.
Gold (-GC) for December delivery added $8.10 to settle at $1,799.20 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday. Gold has traded as high as $1,804.40 and as low as $1,785.10 an ounce while the spot price was sliding $10.30, according to Kitco's gold index.
Silver (-SI) prices rallied 33 cents to finish at $35.15 an ounce while the U.S. dollar index was down 0.5% at $76.62.
Investors were ramping up their gold positions as Italy's Parliament voted for 2010 budget items, which had been dubbed a de facto confidence vote for embattled Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who then announced he would resign after passing austerity measures. Any sort of decisive action -- like Berlusconi removing himself from power -- eliminates uncertainty and is positive for the euro, which weighs on the dollar and boosts gold.
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In times of complete turmoil and chaos, the dollar will still shine as the ultimate place to stash wealth, while many investors sell gold for cash. But potential stability mixed with fear -- like current eurozone quagmire -- is a perfect mix for gold.
The popular gold exchange traded fund SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) added 10 tons Monday. James Moore, research analyst at FastMarkets.com says that this proves investors are interested in gold as a haven to preserve wealth. "The yellow metal could extend above $1,800 in the coming sessions."
The European Central Bank also bought 9.5 billion euros worth of government bonds last week and still Italy's cost of borrowing soared to more than 6.6%. "This gives reason to fear that the ECB will have to expand its bond buying considerably in the coming months," says Commerzbank, especially as disagreements remain about how to boost the firepower of the European Financial Stability Fund.
Although inflation in the Eurozone is at 3% and ECB President Mario Draghi says prices should fall below the 2% mandated level during 2012, more money in the system leaves investors skeptical of paper money, which leaves gold as a popular hedge.
Anthony Neglia, president of Tower Trading, is convinced that "the only way to resolve this (EU crisis) is to print our way out." Neglia had been looking for gold to break $2,000 an ounce this year but has pushed out his timeline to the first quarter of 2012. "First time up (to a resistance level), even if we have been there before, there is always going to be a stop . . . but when we get through $1,923 an ounce, it's a bullet train to $2,000."
Gold mining stocks closed lower Tuesday while broader equities rallied on the news from Italy. Barrick Gold (ABX) fell 1.4% to $52.06, while Newmont Mining (NEM) was backing off from a 52-week high, down 0.7% to $71.61. Goldcorp (GG) shed 1.3% to finish at $52.97, while Randgold Resources (GOLD) slipped 0.7% to $118.57.
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