Gold and silver shares continued their recent march higher on Friday

Gold and silver shares continued their recent march higher on Friday, as the Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index (XAU) rose 1.7% to 203.36 in early afternoon trading.

Among gold mining companies, Harmony Gold (HMY) climbed 3.1% to $12.18 per share and Yamana Gold (AUY) rose 3.0% to $17.57 per share.  Silver Wheaton (SLW) and Silver Standard Resources (SSRI), two of the most widely-held silver stocks, advanced 3.3% and 5.4%, respectively.

The strength in gold and silver shares was driven by further gains in precious metals.  COMEX gold futures – per the February contract – initially slipped below $1,720 per ounce this morning, but later rebounded to $1,732.  Silver moved higher by $0.30, or 0.9%, to $33.72 per ounce.