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Gold Prices Rise in Step With Stocks (Update 1)

Stocks in this article: NG GFI ABX KGC GLD IAU

Updated from 12:19 p.m. EST with settlement prices

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices rose Friday, in line with gains across the major U.S. equity indices.

Gold for April delivery climbed $8.60 to settle at $1,670.60 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,683 and as low as $1,660.60 an ounce, while the spot price was $5.50, according to Kitco's gold index.

"I think today's movement is just running with the equities markets and saying, 'OK, the dollar is getting weak because the Federal Reserve is printing money, equities are going up,'" said David Williams, director of Strategic Gold Corp. "I don't think it's a big deal today, I don't think it's really tremendously impressive."

Silver prices for March delivery added 61 cents to $31.96 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was slipping 0.16% to $79.08.

Gold prices bumped to session highs shortly after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released January nonfarm payrolls, which rose 157,000, and the unemployment rate, which ticked up to 7.9% from the prior month's 7.8%. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had been expecting payrolls to rise 160,000 and unemployment to hold steady at 7.8%.

It was a choppy week for the yellow metal as prices dipped on Monday ahead of option expiration, but popped Wednesday after an unexpected contraction in 2012 fourth-quarter gross domestic product. The Fed's policy-making announcement on Wednesday afternoon didn't offer any surprise as it announced no changes to interest rates or its quantitative easing programs.

This heavy economic reporting week will be followed next week by a much lighter schedule. Gold appears caught in a tight trading range with very few planned events in the near-term that may push the precious metal decidedly in either direction.

Gold mining stocks were mostly higher on Friday. Shares of Gold Fields (GFI) were rising 3.5%, and shares of NovaGold Resources (NG) were rising 2.9%.

Among volume leaders, Barrick Gold (ABX) was tacking on 0.63%, but Kinross Gold (KGC) was off 0.73%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was ticking up 0.27%, while iShares Gold Trust (IAU) was gaining 0.19%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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