Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gold, silver stocks rise as bullion hits new highs

* Shares of many gold, silver miners rise

* Arca Gold Bugs Index tops 600 point mark

* Gold, silver prices hit record highs (Updates with stock market openings, adds analyst comment)

TORONTO/NEW YORK, April 6 (Reuters) - Shares of most North American gold and silver miners rose on Wednesday, with the price of the precious metals touching new highs as a weak U.S. dollar and unrest in the Arab world raised investor demand for safe-haven assets.
The Arca Gold Bugs Index .HUI, which tracks 16 of the world's largest bullion miners, broke through the 600-point mark -- it last peaked at 598.36 in December 2010.

Spot gold XAU= was bid at $1,460.01 an ounce, having hit an all-time high of $1,460.60 earlier in the day. Gold has rallied more than 8 percent in the past two months.

Spot silver XAG= hit a 31-year peak of $39.68 an ounce on Wednesday.

"Looking at my screen, nearly all the mid-tier and junior gold companies are in positive territory," said analyst Adam Graf, of Dahlman Rose & Co. "A couple of silver companies are up big."

But he noted gold company stocks had also risen on Tuesday and some investors in bigger names may already have profited.

Graf declined to forecast prices; but he said based on patterns, the gold price tends to be seasonal, moving up in the first four months and last four months of the year, with a doldrums period between May and August.

"This could be the last gasp to break through price highs before the summer," he said.

In that scenario, Graf said, the price could then pull back in the summer, but might shoot higher again later in the year.

Shares of Canada-based Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) (ABX.N),the world's largest gold miner, dipped 3 cents in New York to $54.25 and were off 42 Canadian cents at C$51.94 in Toronto. Canada's Goldcorp (G.TO) rose 79 Canadian cents to C$51.09 and Kinross Gold (K.TO) was 11 cents higher at C$15.79.

On the New York Stock Exchange, Denver-based gold producer Newmont Mining Corp (NEM.N), which is holding its annual investor day conference on Thursday, dipped 41 cents to $56.57.

"Not every gold company follows the logic," said Graf.

Shares of silver miner Coeur D'Alene Mines Corp (CDE.N) rose 0.7 percent to $36.97, while its rival, Hecla Mining Co (HL.N) was 2.2 percent higher at $9.74.

Canada's Silver Wheaton Corp (SLW.TO) rose 30 cents to C$44.61 in Toronto. (Reporting by Euan Rocha in Toronto and Steve James in New York, editing by Maureen Bavdek and Gerald E. McCormick)

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