(Gold stock story updated for stock-price movement.)
NEW YORK (
) -- Gold-miner stocks pushed toward fresh 52-week highs Friday as
gold prices again broke records
, settling at another all-time high.
As volatility in world markets becomes the status quo, the gold investment thesis remains the same: The metal represents the world's favorite financial safe haven. That sort of one-dimensional buying has created what some analysts call a "crisis premium" in the price of gold.
In New York trading, gold marched above $1,260 an ounce before settling at 1,258.30, adding to recent gains and usurping Thursday's record of $1,248.
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Aside from gold bugs, commodities brokers, ETF managers, and coin dealers, flight-to-safety speculation
that bring specks of gold out of the earth, melt them into bars and sell the gleaming bricks to inflation-hedging investors around the world.
>>Jim Cramer: The Best Way To Buy Gold
stock, for one, set another new peak Friday, its third in as many days. It closed the session at $61.25, up $1.57, or 2.6%, on elevated volumes.
Word from Indonesia Thursday indicated that Newmont's huge open-pit gold-and-copper mine, Batu Hijau, will likely produce less metal this year because of weather. Downpours even more torrential than usual in this rain-forested region led an Indonesian government official to make the call on Friday. Still, the official said, sales for the year may not be hurt, since the mine can move metal from its stockpile. Newmont owns 45% of Batu Hijau.
Elsewhere, shares of
paced the precious-metals gainers Friday. The Vancouver-based exploration outfit recently saw the hedge fund of
, the subprime bear turned gold-bug bull, acquire a stake in its shares, not to mention George Soros.
closed Friday at $7.36, up 6.5%, on more than double the daily average volume.
As indicated in their funds' first quarter reports, Soros and Paulson also took huge stakes in
, the Canadian major. Kinross shares, which constitute one of Paulson's 15-largest U.S.-listed equity stakes, added 1.7% Friday to $18.70 on heavy volume. It notched its 52-week high, $23.91, way back in October, before the company was forced to reel in its production projections because of technical snafus at one of its mines.
Shares of mid-tier producer
also posted a sharp rise Friday as investors sought to
ride the momentum of silver prices
. Hecla, a silver-rush-era miner founded in 1891, is a silver specialist with mines in its home state of Idaho and in Alaska. The stock closed at $5.89, up about 6%.
Among the gold majors,
stock finished the Friday session at $46.28, adding 3.5% and approaching its 52-week high of $48.02, set in early December when the price of the yellow metal was last setting record highs on a daily basis. Rival
, meanwhile, moved higher by 2% to $46.01. Its 52-week high, $47.41, came more recently, in early May.
were rising more moderately than the company's big-gold peers. The company has
, and the
proposed by the government Down Under has caused a shift in the company's strategy. AngloGold's CEO said in a speech Thursday that his company would likely focus its development efforts elsewhere, most likely South Africa.
AngloGold shares were one of the few gold-miner stocks to finish Friday's session in the red, edging lower by a penny to $4.79 after spending most of the day in positive territory.
-- Written by Scott Eden in New York
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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.