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Gold Prices Rise Amid Eurozone Turbulence (Update 1)

Updated from 12:31 p.m. EST with settlement prices

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices rose Monday as eurozone worries began to creep back into global markets.

Gold for April delivery added $5.80 to settle at $1,676.40 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,678.60 and as low as $1,661.80 an ounce, while the spot price was up $7.10, according to Kitco's gold index.

"There's a lot of concern over in Europe right now," said Phil Streible, senior commodities broker at RJO Futures. "There's [a] governmental issue over in Spain right now that's causing that selloff in the DAX [in Frankfurt]."

Silver prices for March delivery slipped 24 cents to close at $31.72, while the U.S. dollar index was jumping 0.45% to $79.57.

Spain's opposition Socialist Party pressed Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to step down on corruption allegations. Rajoy has denied the claims.

" These dark clouds could prove to be nothing more than a tempest in a teacup, but right now, they are dark clouds, and that didn't play well with Spain's bond auction this morning," Chuck Butler, president of world markets at EverBank, wrote in a note on Monday.

The prospect of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi rising to challenge for his old post also has rattled markets, as investors appear concerned about what his reemergence could mean for the Italian relationship with the European Central Bank and the European Union.

The current Italian government has committed to serious reforms with the ECB in order to calm turbulent economic conditions in the region, but markets fear Berlusconi would upend that progress if he regained leadership.

Unrest in the eurozone would be a net-positive for gold as investors view it as a safe-haven asset.

Trickling uncertainty in Europe, combined with the Federal Reserve's revelation last month that members were in disagreement as to when to end the central bank's quantitative easing programs, and last Friday's printing of an unimpressive January jobs report are all leaving the yellow metal on edge and in a tight trading range. Gold may be looking for a breakout event, which could send the price in either direction.
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