Gold hit a 12-week high on Tuesday as investors sought refuge from turbulence in stock and currency markets after crude oil prices slid to a near six-year low.
The gold price peaked at $1,243.60, its highest since mid-October, before retreating as European stocks turned higher and the dollar recovered from an early low. It remained elevated, however, as oil prices languished.
Spot gold was up 0.5 percent at $1,238.90 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for February delivery were up $6.50 an ounce at $1,239.30.
Gold has risen nearly 5 percent this month as equities, which were boosted last year by hopes that the U.S. economy was on the road to recovery, have come under pressure. Strength in stocks helped push gold prices down 1.5 percent in 2014.
"There is an element of beginning-of-the-year exuberence in gold, carrying over from the relative weakness in the equity markets at the moment," Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said.