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A weaker dollar and ongoing diplomatic tensions with North Korea helped gold rally Monday, but it wasn't enough to push bullion prices over the psychologicallyimportant $600 level.

The greenback was recently buying 119.025 yen, down from 119.67 yen on Friday. It was also losing against the euro, which was recently trading at $1.2528, compared with $1.2510 previously.

Contracts for December delivery of gold, which tend to move inversely with changes in the price of the U.S. dollar, edged up $5.80 to close at $598.50 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Meanwhile, shares of the bullion exchange-traded funds,

iShares Comex Gold Trust

(IAU) - Get iShares Gold Trust Report

and

streetTracks Gold Shares

(GLD) - Get SPDR Gold Trust Report

, were jumping slightly less than 1%, inline with the metal, in afternoon trading.

Market watchers note that the limp rally seems to be characteristic of the bearish price moves seen lately.

"Although the market is looking more comfortable than it has lately, I think it will take a lot to get it through the $600-$605 level," says Jon Nadler, an analyst at the Montreal-based bullion dealer Kitco.

He also notes that the robust oil price, which jumped $1.39 to $59.96 a barrel on the Nymex, was helping the session's rally in the yellow metal, as crude is seenas a key contributor to inflation. Gold is frequently considered a long-term hedge against inflationary pressures.

This week traders will likely be eagerly awaiting the publication of the producer price index from the Labor Department on Tuesday, expected at 8.30 a.m. EDT.Also important to the metals complex will be

Federal Reserve

figures on industrial production, expected later Tuesday morning.

Among the major miners, shares of

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Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold

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were rallying 2.5%, while those of

Newmont Mining

(NEM) - Get Newmont Goldcorp Corporation (NEM) Report

were up 0.2% in recent trading.

Bucking the uptrend in the gold patch, shares of

Golden Star Resources

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were tumbling about 1.1% on news that the company'sCFO had resigned.

Also in precious metals, silver was going gangbusters on the Comex, with contracts for December delivery of the white metal jumping 23 cents to close at $11.91 an ounce. That helped fire up shares of silver producer

Hecla Mining

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, recently rallying 5.7%.

In non-ferrous metals, Comex December copper contracts gained 16.9 cents to close at $3.5810 a pound pulled up by strength across the sector.

"Seasonally the fourth quarter is usually strong for the metals," says Edward Meir, a metal market analyst at commodity brokers Man Financial.

Shares of copper producer

Phelps Dodge

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were rallying in response to the buoyant futures prices.

Elsewhere in base metals, Prudential upgraded aluminum smelters

Alcan

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and

Alcoa

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to overweight from neutral. Their shares were recently gaining 3% and 2.2%, respectively.