NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- New York spot gold prices have firmed up Wednesday afternoon, on the heels of Fed Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke declaring that the country is still fighting steep unemployment and housing market troubles.

"New York spot bullion dealings started in the 'green zone' this morning, with gold rising $1.30 per ounce. The yellow metal was quoted at $1,135.60 as against a 0.28 gain in the dollar on the index (to 81.64)," Kitco analyst Jon Nadler noted.

Spot gold prices have risen $18.50, or about 1.6%, to $1,152.80 an ounce.
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New York spot silver prices are up 34 cents, or 1.9%, to $18.24 an ounce in the intraday.
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New York spot platinum prices have risen $14, or 0.8%, to $1,713 an ounce, while its sister metal has gained ground.

New York spot palladium prices are up $3, or 0.6% in the afternoon at $508 an ounce.

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Mining stocks, which offer another form of exposure to precious metals, are generally trading higher Wednesday afternoon.

Kinross Gold ( KGC - Get Report) is up 4.1% at $18.50, while Goldcorp ( GG) has risen 4.3% to $39.90.

Stillwater Mining ( SWC) has surged 7.7% to $15.30, and North American Palladium ( PAL) has gained 6.5% to $4.80.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York


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