Gold shatters $500 mark

Gold futures climbed to an 18-year high above $500 an ounce Thursday; silver prices closed at their loftiest level since 1987, platinum again works toward the $1,000 level, and palladium continued its climb, and, MarketWatch reports.

“The strength in the metals sector is now undeniable as gold crosses key technical barriers and approaches levels it hasn’t seen in decades,” veteran commodities trader Kevin Kerr, told MarketWatch. He also noted that the market is seeing “buying strength from every direction — funds, physical, futures.”

December gold rose $7.90 to close at $502.50 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract traded as high as $503 earlier — a level a front-month contract hasn’t reached in 18 years.

In overnight trading sessions the contract touched $500 Tuesday evening and climbed as high as $502.30 Monday night.

December silver on Thursday tacked on 21.9 cents, or 2.6%, to finish at $8.499 an ounce. That’s the highest closing futures price since May 1987.

Elsewhere in the metals market Thursday, January platinum added $14.30 to close at $994.70 an ounce after losing over $23 during Wednesday’s session. It climbed as high as $1,004 Monday, its highest since March 1980.

Sister metal palladium saw its December contract climb $8.90 to finish at $264.40 an ounce. On Nov. 21, prices tapped $270, their highest level since April 2004.