By MATT DAY
NEW YORK—Gold futures climbed toward its early May peak as investors sought safe-haven assets, while silver jumped more than 4% as the metal continued to rebound after its recent lows.
Gold for May delivery settled $3.40, or 0.2%, higher at $1,526.60 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract is 1.9% below the record close of $1,556.70 reached on May 2.
Worries about the ability of Europe's currency union to manage members' sovereign debt have sent investors looking for assets they perceive as safe in times of trouble, such as gold.
"The ongoing themes in Greece and the rest of Europe keep making people look for a paperless currency," said Adam Klopfenstein, a broker with Lind-Waldock.
The yellow metal isn't as closely linked to industrial cycles as are some other commodities, and some investors buy gold on the belief that it holds its value well during turmoil in currencies or other markets.
Silver futures continued to rebound Wednesday, as traders bet that the sharp selloff at the beginning of the month pushed prices too low amid steady industrial demand for the metal. Futures had slipped from late-April highs above $49 a troy ounce down to as low as $32 an ounce, as Comex raised the cost of holding contracts and many commodities fell.
But investors have warmed to raw materials this week, pushing bellwethers such as copper and crude oil back above key psychological levels and lifting sentiment among silver traders.
May-delivery silver futures ended up $1.519, or 4.2%, at $37.640 a troy ounce.
The rise in precious metals during the last three days has come despite strength in the dollar. A stronger greenback can curb demand for dollar-denominated metals futures by making them more expensive for buyers using other currencies.
But investor demand for the perceived safety of gold and the dollar has been robust enough to lift both, traders said.
"There's been a noteworthy divergence from the normal relationship between gold and the dollar," said Matt Zeman, head of trading at Kingsview Financial. "We've seen several sessions of higher dollar and higher gold."
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