Even as worries about the U.S.economy, European debt, the rising price of oil and unrest in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region drove the price of gold higher, world stocks reached their highest levels in 33 months. Thursday's contradictory market news showed that even while investors hedged against trouble with the purchase of precious metals, they also sought returns on riskier assets.
Reuters reported that gold set a new record on Thursday in early trading, peaking at $1,508.50 per ounce; then it was bid at $1,507.19 against a New York close on Wednesday of $1,498.15. June U.S. gold futures gained $9.40 per ounce, coming in at $1,508.30. Silver followed right along, bid at $45.92 per ounce against $45.20 and showing a 49% gain for the year so far. The gold:silver ratio dropped again on Thursday as well, hitting a 28-year low of 32.9.
Meanwhile, earnings drove acquisitions of equities and pushed investors back into the arms of stocks, with the FTSEurofirst 300 Index of top European shares gaining 0.3% and the MSCI All-Country World Index gaining 0.7% to hit 350.34, a level it hasn’t seen since July of 2008.
Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, was quoted in the report saying, "After a slow start, earnings have improved quite rapidly and results from companies such as Intel and Apple have certainly boosted investor sentiment."
He continued, "There is some nervousness in the background, particularly in relation to the situation in Japan and what that means for the supply chain, but as of today the markets have concentrated on good corporate results."
Platinum and palladium continued their ascent as well, with the former coming in at $1,811.24 an ounce against $1,791.15, and the latter at $766.38 against $767.97. Analysts expect gold and silver, at least, to continue to rise for a bit; James Moore, analyst for FastMarkets, was quoted as saying, "We still expect dips to be viewed as buying opportunities, with gold and silver viewed favorably by investors seeking to hedge against inflation and debt jitters."