Gold Prices Climb on Comments From ECB's Draghi (Update 1)

Updated from 1:17 p.m. EST with settlement prices

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices ticked higher Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said consistent accommodative monetary policy would be necessary for a gradual economic pickup in the eurozone next year.

Gold for February delivery gained $8 to settle at $1,701.80 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,704.80 and as low as $1,687.10 an ounce, while the spot price was adding $5, according to Kitco's gold index.

"Mario Draghi's speech helped the gold a little bit today, and I don't think anyone's mentioned that," said George Gero, precious metals strategist at RBC Wealth Management. "What's happening now is you're going to see some short covering for tomorrow morning, and if we close at $1,710 an ounce or above on Friday I think you're going to see a lot more short covering."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics prints its November monthly jobs report Friday at 8:30 a.m. EST and economists polled by Thomson Reuters are expecting nonfarm payrolls to increase by 93,000. Expectations are lower as analysts have suggested Hurricane Sandy's devastation could have a significant impact on hiring.

Gold prices have typically worked contrary to the monthly jobs report -- when the economy adds more jobs than expected, gold prices dip; whereas, gold climbs on poor labor statistics.

Gold, in some cases, simply acts as a safe-haven for investors against a struggling economy, but investors leave the yellow metal for other securities when things look good.

Silver prices for March delivery rose 16 cents to close at $33.11 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was spiking 0.60% to $80.30.

Draghi spoke Thursday morning and said that the eurozone continues to face downside risks from a struggling economy on the continent. He added that economic activity in the region could pick up next year as global demand increases and confidence returns to financial markets.

Gold mining stocks were mixed Thursday. Shares of Goldcorp ( GG) were dipping 0.6%, but shares of Royal Gold ( RGLD) were increasing 1.8%.

Among volume leaders, shares of Barrick Gold ( ABX) were down 0.21%, while Yamana Gold ( AUY) was tacking on 0.68%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD) was up 0.31%, while iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) was climbing 0.28%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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