(Gold story updated with price changes and additional details on economic news)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices settled in positive territory Monday after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said that the Fed would consider expanding its quantitative easing program.

In an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes over the weekend, Bernanke signaled that the central bank could expand its $600 billion bond purchase program to address the high unemployment rate. "We're not very far from the level where the economy is not self-sustaining," he told CBS.

Fueling inflation sentiment, this announcement, coupled with ongoing uncertainty about the euro-zone's ability to contain its debt crisis, helped gold futures finish in positive territory. Stocks, on the other hand, were dipping in the red during the regular trading session Monday as investors monitored the euro-zone and digested Bernanke's words of caution on the economy and reports that lawmakers were still debating the extension of Bush-era tax cuts.

According to The Associated Press, Bernanke said he hopes the Fed's bond buying will lower bond yields and encourage investment in stocks -- boosting business activity and economic growth in the country.

The yellow metal's rise had been kept in check with the stronger dollar.


Gold for February delivery closed up $10.80 to $1,417 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,422.40 and as low as $1,409.80 Monday .

The U.S. dollar index rose 0.2% to $79.54 while the euro fell 0.6% to $1.33 versus the dollar. The spot gold price was higher by $2, according to Kitco's gold index.

"With Big Ben ... spouting that kind of stuff about the economy, and the possibility of more quantatative easing , I'm surprised at the dollar buying," said EverBank World Markets President Chuck Butler in a research note. "I guess it's a bond buying thing, as yields on Treasuries have dropped from Friday morning's levels."

According to The Associated Press, Bernanke said fears that the Fed would be printing more money and taking inflation risks through its bond purchases was a "myth." He said the Fed isn't printing money when buying Treasuries and the purchase won't result in a significant expansion of money circulating in the market, AP reported.

On Friday, Gold prices approached new highs, driven by a particularly disappointing November U.S. unemployment report. Investors fled for security through precious metals as the Labor Department reported that nonfarm jobs rose 39,000 as the private sector increased jobs by 50,000. The unemployment rate rose to 9.8%, the loftiest level since April. All the results were greatly below expectations.


Silver prices added 72 cents to $29.99 as the poorer cousin of the yellow metal reached a 30-year high. Copper stayed at $4.

Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com

Gold mining stocks, a risky but potentially profitable way to buy gold, were trading in positive territory.

Goldcorp ( GG) was rising by 1.7% to $47.85 while Kinross Gold ( KGC) increased 2% to $19.12. Yamana Gold ( AUY) was tacking on 1.2% to $12.68 as Agnico-Eagle Mines ( AEM) added 2.3% to $86.97.

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