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) --

Gold prices

and silver futures were popping Friday as investors opted for the metals amid a weak dollar and strong inflation numbers out of Europe.

Gold for June delivery exploded $25.20 to settle at $1,556.40 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The spot gold prices was rising $25.50 an ounce, according to Kitco's gold index.

Silver prices

for July moved $1.05 higher to settle at $48.59 an ounce.

"Don't be surprised if the silver spot price reaches at least $60 by the end of May," said Patrick A. Heller, owner of Liberty Coin Service and Premier Coins & Collectibles in Lansing, Mich. "Also don't be shocked if it becomes almost impossible to acquire physical silver for immediate or short-term delivery."

Gold and silver futures extended Thursday's gains, as European inflation accelerated to 2.8% in April, which was much higher than the 2% European Central Bank target. European inflation rose at its fastest clip in two and a half year amid soaring energy prices.

Since Wednesday, the dollar has been weakening and gold and silver have been gaining, thanks to the unanimous decision by the Fed to keep interest rates at 0% to 0.25% until at least the Fall as well as keeping its balance sheet the same size after quantitative easing ends in June meant more cheap money for longer.

Vote: Where will gold prices finish in 2011?

The Fed will reinvest its profits from its current $600 billion bond buying program back into the market not adding extra cash but not taking any away either. Inflation forecasts were also below the Fed's 2% target, which means the central bank would want more inflation. Some experts are calling this QE 2.5 and say that this leaves the door open to a third round of quantitative easing, or QE3.

"You'd almost think Ben Bernanke wants Americans to dump the dollar and switch into precious metals," said Adrian Ash, head of research at

Vote: How High Will Silver Prices Go in 2011?

Gold mining stocks

, a risky but potentially profitable way to

buy gold

, were trading mixed Friday morning.

Kinross Gold

(KGC) - Get Free Report

gained 0.9% to close at $15.84.



rose 1.4% to $55.83, while


(AEM) - Get Free Report

was up 2.9% to $69.56 and

Eldorado Gold

(EGO) - Get Free Report

rose 4.3% to finish at $18.68.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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>> Where will gold prices finish in 2011?

>> How High Will Silver Prices Go in 2011?

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