Gold prices were jumping past $700 Thursday as buyers were enticed into precious metals amid news that Syria had fired surface-to-air missiles at Israeli aircraft.
Benchmark contracts for gold bullion were gaining $11.30 at $702 an ounce in recent New York futures market action.
"Certainly safe-haven buying is coming back into the marketplace," says James Moore, an analyst at
in London. "One of gold's traditional roles is a safe-haven asset in times of war."
In addition to concerns that the Middle East spat may flare into a larger conflict between the two nations, investors remain anxious that the problem with rising mortgage defaults has further to run. That, says Moore, is boosting demand for gold.
A positive tilt to the charts was contributing even more to the bullish mix as key technical resistance was breached at around $693.
Silver prices followed gold higher, tacking on 17 cents at $12.53 an ounce. Copper was up 1 cent to $3.28 a pound.
The exchange-traded funds that track the prices of metals were moving roughly in line with the futures market. The
streetTracks Gold Shares
was up about 1%, while the
iShares Silver Trust
was higher by 0.8%. The
PowerShares DB Base Metals
was barely changed.
Elsewhere in the metals complex, shares of
( RTP) were rising almost 5% on trading desk rumors that the firm might be acquired in a joint effort by Brazil's
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
Shares of BHP and CVRD were up 2.2% and 1%, respectively.
Among ratings actions, Bernstein upgraded base metals miner
( AAUK) to market perform from underperform.
RBC Capital Markets trimmed back its price target on shares of uranium miner
to $63 from $70, but maintained a "top pick" rating. The shares were recently trading at about $41, up marginally.
As for the agricultural sector, wheat prices were pulling back, off 1.8% at $8.20 a bushel after having hit record highs Wednesday. Soybean prices were slipping 0.9% at $8.95 a bushel.