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Gold Jumps as QE3 Hopes Won't Fade (Update 1)

Stocks in this article: KGC AEM ABX GG NEM

Updated from 10:37 a.m. EDT with settlement prices.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices climbed higher Thursday as investors showed some confidence that quantitative easing would eventually occur, despite Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's signal that it wasn't imminent.

Gold for August delivery settled up $9.60 to $1580.40 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1591.50 and as low as $1572.10 an ounce, while the spot price rising $5.40, according to Kitco's gold index.

"I think this is why gold, with the comments that Mr. Bernanke made not yesterday but more the comments he made on Tuesday, is kind of leaving the door open for quantitative easing," said Tim Harvey, senior vice president at ETF Securities U.S.

Silver prices for September delivery settled up about 12 cents to $27.14 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was down 0.05% to $82.95.

Harvey said the markets are suggesting a need for quantitative easing, especially as investors have seen the Bank of England come up with a bit of its own easing and as China and the European Central Bank have cut rates.

Timing may become a serious hurdle for gold buyers who are expecting a big break from the current trading range. The Fed hasn't taken QE3 off the table, but the deeper the U.S. election cycle goes into 2012 the more the central bank would have to worry about any of its monetary actions being construed as political.

Gold's tracked upward for a while on Thursday in tandem with the U.S. dollar, which isn't highly unusual as it may indicate that investors who live in economically troubled areas like Spain, Portugal and Italy are going long on gold and the dollar as trouble in the eurozone persists .

Trading was relatively light on Thursday and the yellow metal is down about 10% this month.

Gold mining stocks were mostly higher Thursday after a streak of declines. Kinross Gold (KGC) led the group as shares hit $8.06, up 19 cents, or 2.4%, while Goldcorp (GG) was at $33.38, up 85 cents, or 2.6%.

Among other mining stocks, Barrick Gold (ABX), Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM) and Newmont Mining (NEM) were up more than 1%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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