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Gold Prices Rise as Monetary Policy Grabs Spotlight

Tickers in this article: ABX GLD AU KGC AUY
Updated from 12:53 p.m. ET with settlement prices

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices climbed Thursday as investors turned their focus back to global monetary policy following the U.S. elections.

Gold for December delivery added $12 to $1,726 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.. The gold price traded as high as $1,730.50 and as low as $1,712.60 an ounce, while the spot price was rising $16, according to Kitco's gold index.

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"I think with the election behind us, traders and speculators are refocusing on monetary and fiscal policy, and they see these as being positive for gold and that might be contributing to today's strength," said Jeffrey Nichols, senior economic adviser at Rosland Capital.

Silver prices for December delivery gained 58 cents to $32.24 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was off 0.01% to $80.80.

The European Central Bank kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.75% on Thursday as markets continued to await any word from Spain as to a possible bailout request from the bank that could trigger more bond buying.

The Bank of England also maintained its benchmark interest rate at 0.5%.

The Greek parliament narrowly passed a tough austerity package on Thursday, but when reporters asked ECB President Mario Draghi what else the bank could do for the country he said there wasn't much.

The euro took a hit amid uncertainties about the eurozone. The euro dipped against the U.S. dollar to $1.2744, from the prior day's settlement of $1.2771.

Following U.S. elections, a number of analysts suggested it would be a net positive for gold prices as President Barack Obama was unlikely to remove Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. This would mean a continuation of the Fed's open-ended quantitative easing program.

Investors should keep an eye on physical demand for gold as the holiday season in India, a key period of gold jewelry buying in the country, gains momentum. Early reports have shown demand could be much lower than usual this year.

Investors may not want to read too far into Thursday's slight uptick as analysts have continued to maintain positive long term views on gold prices.

"These day to day changes, unless they're really much bigger, are just noise," said Nichols. "What really matters is whether we can sustain and advance not just a day or two, not just for a week or two, but longer."

Gold mining stocks were mixed on Thursday. Shares of Kinross Gold (KGC) were jumping 8.9%, but shares of AngloGold Ashanti (AU) were shedding 1.7%.

Among other mining stocks, Barrick Gold (ABX) was up 1.2%, and Yamana Gold (AUY) was gaining 1.7%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was increasing 0.89%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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