Gold Prices Rise as Investors Re-Establish Positions

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices were ticking higher Monday as investors re-established positions in the yellow metal after Friday's selloff.

Gold prices for February delivery were tacking on $5.90 to $1,718.60 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,724.90 and as low as $1,714.20 an ounce, while the spot price was off 20 cents, according to Kitco's gold index.

"Because of liquidation on Friday ... a lot of commodity firms their fiscal year ended in November, December starts another year, and these guys could have liquidated some gold positions and they could be re-establishing right now," said Phil Streible, senior commodities broker at RJO Futures.

Last Friday was first notice day for gold, when physical delivery of the yellow metal must occur.

Silver prices for March Delivery were climbing 50 cents to $33.78 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was dropping 0.50% to $79.83.

"Dollar weakness is not adding too much support at all," said Streible. "It seems like there's some massive short-covering going on in the euro currency right now, and obviously it's some kind of gauge that there's some confidence in the eurozone."

That confidence has led some investors to move out of some of their positions of gold as a safety play and move back into the euro, Streible said.

The euro was climbing against the U.S. dollar to $1.3071, improving against Friday's close at $1.2987.

German lawmakers approved the bailout agreement to Greece, even after the International Monetary Fund said it would not distribute the country's impending round of bailout loans until the country completed a voluntary buyback of its debt.

On Monday, Greece announced that it would buy back as much as €10 billion in outstanding debt. The bailout money could be seen as positive for gold as a hedge against inflation.

Also in Europe, Spain officially requested bailout funds for its banks from the European Stability Mechanism fund. Investors have expected Spain to request this bailout, but have waited for weeks as the country stalled on making a decision. Spain is set to receive €37 billion for the recapitalization of four banks.

Gold jumped to its session highs at around 10 a.m. EST when the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index declined to 49.5 in November from 51.7 in October. A number less than 50 suggests contraction in the manufacturing sector. A consensus of economists had expected a reading of 51.3.

The HSBC PMI manufacturing index for China posted a reading of 50.5, which was a bit higher than economists' expectation of 50.4. The news was the first improvement in operating conditions there in 13 months, according to Econoday.

Talks on the so-called fiscal cliff -- when tax relief measures and deep spending cuts will automatically go into effect at the beginning of 2013 -- continued through the weekend as U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner reiterated to CNN that there wouldn't be a deal unless Republicans agreed to raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans.

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said Sunday in an interview with Fox News that he believed raising tax rates would hurt the economy, and questioned if there was a better way to raise revenue.

Gold mining stocks were mixed Monday. Shares of Gold Fields ( GFI) were losing 3.8%, but shares of Royal Gold ( RGLD) were jumping 2.4%.

Among volume leaders, Barrick Gold ( ABX) was dipping 0.61%, and Newmont Mining ( NEM) was down 2.1%.

Gold ETFs SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD) was up 0.10%, and iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) was inching higher by 0.12%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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