Gold and silver stocks surged higher alongside precious metals and the broader equity markets on Thursday. The sector’s rally was driven by the Federal Reserve and Fed Chairman Ben “Helicopter” Bernanke, who definitely lived up to his nickname by announcing an open-ended third round of quantitative easing (QE3).
The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) – comprised of the world’s largest gold producers and a few silver companies as well – climbed as much as 5.1% to $52.53 per share, its highest level since March 13th of this year. Furthermore, the GDX extended its advance thus far in September to 9.6% and turned positive on a year-to-date basis, by 2.1%.
Notable GDX components in the black this afternoon included Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM), IAMGOLD (IAG), and Silver Wheaton (SLW). AEM rose by 3.8% to $50.19, IAG by 5.2% to $14.67, and SLW by 5.6% to $38.24 per share.
(for more information on gold stocks – including rankings and analysis on every GDX component – visit GoldAlert Pro at http://pro.goldalert.com )
Among precious metals, gold futures at the COMEX settled up by $38.14, or 2.2%, at $1,772.10 per ounce. Not to be outdone, silver futures jumped $1.27, or 3.8%, to $34.56 per ounce. With their gains, the prices of gold and silver are now higher in 2012 by 13.1% and 23.8%, respectively.
The metals benefited from weakness in the U.S. dollar as well, which slid 0.7% against a basket of the world’s largest currencies. Jeffrey Sherman, a commodities portfolio manager at DoubleLine Capital, commented that “The Fed’s inflationary behavior should be bearish for the dollar in the long run and drive investors to seek protection via the gold market.”
As for the broader markets, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) advanced 202.13 points, or 1.6%, to 13,535.48 while the S&P 500 Index added 1.6% to 1,459.85. In doing so, both major market indices reached their best levels since late 2007.
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