Silver broke from the other precious metals Wednesday, posting gains amid a general downdraft that cut a host of other securities, including gold, platinum, the euro and European stocks.

The white metal surged 19 cents to $40.33 in what traders suggested was an expectation that the Federal Reserve will intervene in the markets to energize business. Since about half of silver's demand comes from industrial buyers, such a move bodes well -- at least for the short term -- for the poor man's gold.

The dollar was also higher, rising about 0.31 percent against a basket of major world currencies.

Gold fell $10.90 to $1,794.40, and platinum was down $5.80 to $1,776.10.

The notion that U.S. central bank intervention will stimulate the economy and, thus, help silver would also explain why U.S. stocks were rising. Markets were awaiting news later Wednesday from the two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. It was largely expected that the FOMC will announce a fresh initiative to stimulate business, perhaps by extending the maturities of the central bank's portfolio.

European stocks fell, as did the euro, because such securities are more immediately affected by a possible Greek default than any announcement coming from Washington.

Silver's rising price comes amid optimism about the commodity's outlook.

For example, market participants at the London Bullion Market Association's convention, currently meeting in Montreal, expect silver to trade at $47 per ounce, according to a poll.

We believe silver is also likely to benefit in part from gold's positive sentiment, however industrial demand provides a deflated cushion, thus prices are likely to remain volatile, while palladium is likely to find a firmer footing as concerns over demand, and China in particular, subside, a Barclays Capital note to investors said.