Gold and silver mining company stocks got a boost Monday from the rising price of their metals and a global resurgence of safe-haven investing.
Both gold and silver rose more than two percent in afternoon trading amid concerns Italy's debts were spinning out of control and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, widely seen as ineffective, was resisting pressure to resign.
Yields on Italy's 10-year bonds soared to 6.68 percent, their highest level in more than four years, a measure of how little confidence global investors have in the ability of Italy's current leadership to get the government to boost revenue, stimulate growth and put the government on a diet.
Adding to Eurozone concerns was a comment by Philipp Roesler, Germany's economics minister, that the country's gold reserves with the central bank cannot be touched, adding his voice to opposition to an idea reportedly discussed at the G20 summit of using reserves to boost euro zone bailout funds.
German gold reserves must remain untouchable, Roesler, who is head of the Free Democrats, a junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition, told ARD television.
The Bundesbank (German central bank) and a spokesman for Merkel already said over the weekend that they too ruled out the idea reported discussed at the summit of Group of 20 leading economies last week.
German media said that the Cannes summit discussed using central bank reserves, including foreign currency and gold, to increase contributions to the European Financial Stability Facility by more than 15 billion euros ($20 billion).
In the U.S., risk aversion was growing. Treasury prices were climbing and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down along with the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500.
The dollar drifted slightly higher, most as a result of the euro's fall.
Coeur d'Alene Mines Ltd., the largest silver producer in the U.S., soared 7.5 percent after it swung to a profit in the third quarter.
Silver Standard Resources Inc., which has substantial Latin American operations, surged 7.1 percent.
Among gold miners, Goldcorp Inc. and Harmony Gold Mining Co. both gained 3.5 percent.