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Gold, Silver Prices Hold Gains as Oil Stabilizes

NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- Gold and silver prices eased off highs Monday as profit taking battled with safe haven buying.

Gold for April delivery added $5.90 to close at $1,434.50 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,445.70 and as low as $1,428.30. The spot gold price was up $2, according to Kitco's gold index.

Silver prices followed gold, and rose 53 cents to settle at $35.86 after hitting a 31-year high of $36.74.

As oil prices go, so do gold and silver. The precious metals followed black gold higher in overnight trading. Gold hit a high, silver broke to a 31-year high and oil prices surged to a two-and-a-half year high. Investors were buying gold and silver as protection against uncertainty in the Middle East, an ongoing civil war in Libya, rising inflation led by high oil prices and loose monetary policies. Mid-way through the trading day all three commodities backed off their recent levels as investors took profits.

James Moore, research analyst for FastMarkets, wrote Monday that new highs in silver could trigger profit taking "but with the situation in the [Middle East/North Africa] region still extremely volatile and oil continuing to rise, both gold & silver are likely to extend on a mix of safe-haven and anti-inflationary hedging with silver set to challenge $38-40 an ounce but ultimately the all-time record of $50 an ounce."

If the situation in Libya resolves itself, however, then commodities could see more of a selloff. On Monday it was rumored that Lidyan leader Gadhafi would cede power if his family was allowed to leave the country safely. That said, the scenario of a steeper correction is not in the forefront of traders' minds.

David Morgan, founder of, is long on silver using silver stocks. "The equities are lagging the metals and if this rally is going to continue the equities will play catch up pretty quickly," he said. Morgan would use the same strategy with gold stocks versus the underlying commodity.

"Value wise, silver is still the better play." Currently, the silver to gold ratio (how many ounces of silver it takes to buy an ounce of gold) is roughly 40:1 and Morgan thinks the ratio could sink as low as 16, which, at current gold prices could put silver at $90.

"Short-term [however] it looks like there might be an opportunity to make a ratio trade which means you want to take silver and trade it for gold at this 40:1 level. If it snaps back and gold starts outperforming silver, which I suspect could happen, ... then you might get a retracement to the 60:1 area ... [then] trade back the other way."
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