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Analyst Note: Gold Miners

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Sterne Agee analyst urged investors to pick up shares of certain gold mining companies, predicting that gold prices will continue rebounding and reach new highs within 18 months.

Gold for August delivery climbed $57.90, nearly 4 percent, to $1,622.10 per ounce on Friday, as the overall market tumbled. As the markets calmed on Monday, the price of gold edged down $5.30 to $1,616.80 per ounce by midday.

The price of gold had fallen about 9.3 percent, compared with the end of February, as the stock markets rose. Investors see gold as a safe investment and tend to sell it, pushing down its price, when other markets are stable or rising and stocks climb.

Analyst Michael Dudas said slowing growth in the U.S. economy, tepid job creation and other factors will combine to send gold prices to new highs over the next 12 to 18 months. He reiterated his target prices for gold: $1,800 per ounce this year and $2,000 per ounce in 2013.

Dudas said precious metal equities are "underowned and underpriced" and pointed to Newmont Mining Corp., Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. and Gold Resource Corp., all of which he rated at "Buy." He said those mining companies are likely to see their shares rise when gold prices start increasing.

"Despite many precious metals equities enjoying one of the best price movements on Friday, we believe investors have yet to fully recognize the relative attractiveness of these shares given the sharp price correction seen since February 2012, above-average dividend yields and prospects of improved cash flow generation," Dudas wrote in a note to investors.

Mining shares were mixed at midday:

— Newmont stock was flat at $50.30, while the overall markets were down roughly six-tenths of 1 percent;

— Coeur d'Alene fell 76 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $17.59; and

— Gold Resource shares fell 71 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $25.06.