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Investors are rushing to gold-mining stocks amid concerns that Russia could invade Ukraine, providing a windfall for a sector that had been softening on expectations of rising rates, which typically spell weakness for gold.

In Australia, gold stocks led the S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.37% higher, accounting for nine of the top 10 biggest risers by early Monday afternoon in Sydney. Spot gold was up roughly $1 at $1,859 a troy ounce.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. NCM, +5.19%, the country’s largest listed gold miner, was among the top performing stocks. It was recently up 5.2% at 23.89 Australian dollars (US$17.05 a share).

The move extends a rebound for Newcrest, which struck a two-year low of A$20.91 a share at the end of January, ahead of first-half earnings result on Feb. 17 that some analysts think will include plans for a share buyback.

Regis Resources Ltd. RRL, +7.61% was the biggest winner, trading 8.7% higher at A$2.00 a share. Regis shares have slid over the past year to a six-year low as the miner grapples with operational challenges.

Gold prices GC00, +0.78% have been rising as tensions between Russia and Ukraine increased. Some investors flock to gold during times of geopolitical turbulence, expecting it to hold value even when other assets struggle. A surge in inflation has also aided the metal, which is widely viewed as an inflation hedge.

Still, gold remains well below its 2020 record of more than $2,000 an ounce.

Investors have been betting that the Federal Reserve will act aggressively to curb inflation. Tighter central bank policy typically reduces the appeal of gold, which pays no regular income.

Source: This post first appeared on http://marketwatch.com/

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