Gold Prices Fluctuate Amid Mideast, Japan Turmoil; Silver Gains

Gold fluctuated after rising to a record yesterday as turmoil in Libya and Japan spurred demand for the metal as an investment haven. Silver headed for the longest rally in more than three months.

Concern that Portugal may need a bailout also helped gold reach an all-time high of $1,448.60 an ounce. The coalition against Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi is taking aim at his armored units, military facilities and supply lines after crippling his air force. Japan’s nuclear regulator said one reactor core at the damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant may be cracked and leaking radiation.

“Gold is still in a bull market, but it needs a fresh catalyst,” said Frank Lesh, a trader at FuturePath Trading LLC in Chicago. “Gold has priced in the situation in Europe, the Middle East and Japan, and there isn’t an impetus to go higher yet.”

Gold futures for April delivery rose $1.80 to $1,436.70 at 10:39 a.m. on the Comex in New York. Before today, the metal climbed 32 percent in the past 12 months.

Silver futures for May delivery rose 13.5 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $37.51 an ounce. The price was up for the sixth straight session, the longest rally since early December. The metal has more than doubled in the past 12 months.

Yesterday, sliver reached $38.18, the highest since February 1980. In that year, the metal reached a record of $50.35.

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