NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices soared to their highest level since June 19, as investors moved out of a declining S&P 500. A massive volume of orders for gold December futures contracts went through, which boosted the euro's value against the U.S. dollar. Gold for December delivery at the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange jumped $27.50 to settle at $1,360.90 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,367.90 and as low as $1,317.90 an ounce, while the spot price added $22.41. "A bunch of stops were triggered," said Howard Wen, precious metals analyst at HSBC Bank USA. "It might be due to short-covering." Short-covering occurs when traders who have made previous orders that anticipate a decline in an asset, decide to start purchasing new positions in an asset class because they believe it potentially will rise. If a trader bet that an asset will fall, and it rises instead, the trader will lose money on that trade. In order to avoid a loss, the trader will purchase more of the asset to cover the "short" position. Gold prices lingered in negative territory for most of the morning trading session, but popped around 1 p.m. ET.
The euro spiked shortly afterwards. Traders tested key technical resistance -- a level that price gains repeatedly don't surpass -- at $1,350 on Thursday, and eventually pushed through that level, leaving investors to believe more gains could be in store. "I think there is a very good chance gold has bottomed here; whether it is long term or short term is yet to be determined," said Brian LaRose, senior technical analyst at ICAP. "There's clearly opportunity in this market to move higher in the coming days." LaRose said the gold market has created a case that it may have completed a bearish move down from its all-time highs. Silver prices for September delivery surged $1.15 to $21.87 an ounce , while the U.S. dollar index was plunging 0.71% Stocks tumbled on Thursday as investors feared the Federal Reserve could begin to taper its monetary stimulus as soon as September. The Fed's quantitative easing programs since the financial crisis have helped boost equities to all-time highs.
Signals that the central bank may pull back its monetary stimulus tend to force gold prices lower, because gold is seen as a hedge against inflation that some investors believe can occur when the Fed expands the monetary base. But EverBank Senior Market Strategist Chris Gaffney said gold surged on technical trading. "I think that we saw pent up demand in the technical," said Gaffney. "It will be interesting to see where we go tomorrow." Gold mining stocks closed mostly higher on Thursday. Shares of AngloGold Ashanti ( AU) popped 9% to $15.09, while shares of Eldorado Gold ( EGO) jumped 7.7% to $9.23. Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD) climbed 2.1% to $131.71, while iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) increased 2.1% to $13.23. -- Written by Joe Deaux in New York. >Contact by Email. Follow @JoeDeaux