Gold prices bounce back after hitting low in June

Analysts: Debt ceiling, Middle East worries help lift gold prices from low reached in June

Associated Press

Shares of several mining and gold companies climbed Wednesday, as escalating Middle East tension and jitters in financial markets fueled demand for precious metals.

Gold prices hit a three-and-a-half month high overnight and have now bounced more than 20 percent from what was nearly a three-year low in June, Kitco.com senior analyst Jim Wyckoff said in an email.

He said the possibility of U.S. military action in Syria has made the market place "extra nervous," and that favors safe-haven assets like gold.

Sterne Agee analyst Michael S. Dudas also noted that gold prices generally rise from August to October each year. He added that strong demand, as seen with a jump in Chinese gold purchases during this year's first half, has helped push the precious metal higher.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew also announced earlier this week that the U.S. government could hit its debt ceiling and be unable to borrow money to pay its bills by mid-October. Dudas noted that a stalemate between Republicans and Democrats over a vote to lift the debt ceiling in 2011 helped gold prices that summer.

Shares of Goldcorp Inc. climbed 3 percent, or 90 cents, to $30.81 in afternoon trading, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose less than 1 percent. Shares of Newmont Mining Corp. climbed 2.4 percent, or 77 cents, $32.88; Royal Gold Inc. rose 1.6 percent, or $1, to $63.14; and Barrick Gold Corp. was up 53 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $20.20.

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