TANGIBLE INVESTMENTS - Los Angeles - by James O'Dell - Gold and Silver prices are up sharply on Thursday with Gold climbing 1 1/2 percent to a 3 1/2 month high at $1,345.00 an ounce in early trade and currently trading at $1,338.60 an ounce while Silver rose nearly 2 1/2 percent to a near 4 month high at $21.55 an ounce and is currently trading at $21.49 an ounce.
"I don't think it's one of those days when there is one single massively positive factor for Gold: instead of the many different factors that affect Gold prices in some days it just happens that they all turn out to be positive," said Macquarie's Matthew Turner.
European shares sank on weak economic data and a banking crisis involving the Espírito Santo Financial Group saw trading in its shares halted when it missed a debt payment, driving investors to the safety of Gold bullion. The group owns Portugal’s largest bank, the Banco Espírito Santo, whose shares were also halted after plunging 17 percent. "Investors are again diversifying their portfolios and increasing exposure to precious metals as a hedge against concerns about the euro zone's financial situation," said Peter Fertig of Quantitative Commodity Research.
Investors are also watching developments in the Middle East very closely, after Israel launched a military offensive on the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave, and may be preparing for an all-out ground attack as Israeli troops gather on its border. The situation in Iraq remains tense after Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim notified the United Nations that ISIS had seized nuclear materials that were being used for research at a Mosul university.
"Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state," wrote the Ambassador. In the letter, Iraq's UN envoy said that nearly 88 pounds of uranium had been seized. The letter was an appeal for help from the UN to "stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad."
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