Shares of most gold and silver mining companies turned sharply higher on Thursday despite a broad-based sell-off on Wall Street.

The Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index (XAU) jumped by as much as 1.4% to 163.61 this morning, buoyed in part by modest gains in precious metals.  COMEX gold and silver futures rose by 0.2% to $1,663.30 and 1.1% to $30.35 per ounce, respectively.

In contrast, the S&P 500 Index retreated by 1.1% to 1,404.03 as a lack of progress on the looming fiscal cliff helped send most sectors of the equity markets into risk-off mode.

One notable gold miner in the news today was Randgold Resources (GOLD), which announced that a fire erupted at its Tongon mine in Cote d’Ivoire.  While the fire occurred during a planned shutdown and no injuries were reported, Randgold revised its full-year production forecast for Tongon lower to 208,000 ounces.  Shares of GOLD bucked the trend of higher gold stocks by dipping $0.32, or 0.3%, to $97.94 per share.

Among silver producers, Coeur d’Alene Mines (CDE) was the subject of a positive report by CNBC, which noted bullish options activity in shares of CDE.  Yesterday approximately 3,500 January call options were purchased, with volume running at 14 times the open interest.  Across all strike prices, the ratio of call to put options traded stood at 8:1.  Shares of CDE advanced by as much as 1.5% to $24.46 this morning.

Other XAU components in the black included AngloGold Ashanti (AU) and Silver Standard Resources (SSRI) – which climbed by 2.3% to $31.11 and by 3.3% to $14.80 per share, respectively.

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