Gold Prices Break $1,160 on High Demand

Gold prices head higher on a weaker U.S. dollar and strong physical demand.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Gold prices

Friday were moving past $1,160 as the U.S. dollar fell, and investors bought the precious metal as they braced for earnings season.

Gold for June delivery was rising $12 to $1,164.90 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices Friday have traded as high as $1,165.80 and as low as $1,150.40. The

U.S. dollar index

was slipping 0.65% to $80.96. Gold's spot price was rising over $11, according to Kitco's gold index.

When Will Gold Hit $1,200?

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The dollar was losing ground as the euro bounced off its lows from Thursday and investors sought gold as a safe haven. Fitch lowered its rating on Greece debt to almost junk status, triple-B minus. The country is set to auction off more Treasury bills next week, and some analysts expect yeilds to reach 7%. The news jump-started the European Union, which reportedly said it was likely to act and help Greece with an international bailout.

A tentative agreement had been reached in March between the EU and IMF to provide Greece with a financial bailout, but details were still sketchy. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet also tried to reassure investors that the country was not at risk for default. Gold is also finding further support as a safe haven asset as many investors are turning to the hard asset as earnings season kicks off on Monday.

Gold has managed to settle over $1,150 an ounce for the last two trading sessions. Many analysts are expecting this momentum to drive gold past $1,160 and towards $1,200 an ounce. Momentum buying is a key factor in higher gold prices. Many funds and investors on the sidelines will be eager to put their money to work in gold if they think the metal is moving quickly higher without them.

"There's big, big demand in the physical market," says David Morgan, founder of Silver-Investor.com. "I think there are a lot of people who are in these markets who are changing positions meaning they are going from certificate gold, certificate silver into the physical realm. I do think we're going to continue to see an upward trend in these markets."

Silver prices

were up 28 cents to $18.41 while copper was flat at $3.59.

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Mining stocks, a more leveraged way to

invest in gold

, were tentative.

Barrick Gold

(ABX)

was rising 1.98% to $41.76 while

Newmont Mining

(NEM) - Get Report

was trading at $54.37. Other large-cap miners such as

Kinross Gold

(KGC) - Get Report

and

Goldcorp

(GG)

were slightly higher at $18.56 and $40.53, respectively.

Shares of

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold

(FCX) - Get Report

were losing 0.43% to $85.99 while

AngloGold Ashanti

(AU) - Get Report

was up over 1.87%% to $41.46.

The popular physically backed ETF,

SPDR Gold Shares

(GLD) - Get Report

was rising 1% to $132.79. The ETF added nearly 10 tons on Thursday and investors rushed into the precious metal.

>>Slideshow: How to Invest in Gold

>>More stories on gold investing

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Written by Alix Steel in New York

.

Alix joined TheStreet.com TV in February 2007. Previously, she held positions in film and theater production, management, and legal administration. Alix has a degree in communications and theater from Northwestern University.