Gold Prices Jump on Spain Bailout Hopes (Update 1)

Updated from 9:50 a.m. EDT with settlement prices and closing prices

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices gained on Friday as optimism rose on the possibility of a new Spanish bailout package.

Gold for December delivery increased $7.80 to $1,778 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,790 and as low as $1,769.10 an ounce, while the spot price settled at $4.50, according to Kitco's gold index.

"When the Federal Reserve, when the European Central Bank start to get close to announcing some new program it seems like gold continues to want to move up," said Larry Gilbert, a managing director at HighTower. "People are thinking of it as an inflation hedge."

Silver prices for December delivery settled down 4 cents to $34.64 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was unchanged at $79.38.

The yellow metal ticked up alongside the euro Friday after The Financial Times said European Union officials had told the newspaper that the Spanish government and ECB were in talks for an economic reform program to be unveiled next week.

Gold effectively had traded sideways since the Fed announced on Sept. 13 its new open-ended asset-purchase program. Even a move earlier this week by the Bank of Japan to expand its monetary stimulus failed to sustain gold gains by the time futures settled after the event.

Investors saw gold futures jump more than $38 on the Fed's decision, but that move, which made most of its gains in the period of an hour, had flat-lined until Friday.

Reports earlier this week about concerns that Spanish and ECB officials would fail to reach an agreement turned gold slightly negative, but Friday's upward move sidelined those fears and suggested that more stimulus would be on the way.

Gold mining stocks closed mostly higher Friday. Randgold Resources ( GOLD) rose 3.2%, while NovaGold Resources ( NG) gained 1.8%.

Among other mining stocks, Kinross Gold ( KGC) increased 0.49%, but Gold Fields ( GFI) dipped 0.45%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD) inched up 0.29%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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