Options expiration for both gold and silver contracts on the Comex takes place Tuesday when traders have to decide either to roll over their December futures contracts, for gold to February of 2011, or let them expire. Morgan thinks that gold will breach $1,400 again by the end of the year and silver will break $30 an ounce, but that prices will have to get through the volatility of options expiration first.

"Option expiration can be pressure on futures as they add longs or shorts to accounts," says George Gero, senior vice president at RBC Wealth Management. Many traders are looking to December to find direction for gold prices and discounting any current price volatility due to the shortened trading week.

The gold exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD), also saw some trading action last week. On Thursday, when gold rallied 1.2%, the ETF shed more than four tons as GLD investors booked profits. On Friday, the ETF added back most of the tonnage and now holds 1,289.33 tons as investors still seem reluctant to exit their gold positions.

Gold prices will also look to China for any more signs that the country will fight inflation. On Friday, the Chinese central bank raised the amount of money banks must hold in their reserves by 50 basis points in its latest efforts to take money out of circulation.

Some analysts had been expecting a hike in interest rates, which would have been more severe, and could still happen in the future. Any steps to fight inflation would weigh on gold prices as the metal is seen as protection against future inflation.

Silver prices settled up 28 cents to $27.46 while copper lost 8 cents to $3.75.

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Gold mining stocks, a risky but potentially profitable way to buy gold, were rebounding. NovaGold ( NG) was up 0.62% to $14.69 while Iamgold ( IAG) was adding 0.91% to $17.24. Other gold stocks Hecla Mining ( HL) and Couer d'Alene Mines ( CDE) were trading at $8.93 and $24.09, respectively.


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-- Written by Alix Steel in New York.

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