Gold prices rallied Thursday to settle at their highest level since early August, as investors took refuge in the precious metal from a slump in U.S. and global stock markets. "Gold and silver, the traditional havens in times of volatility, are again displaying their lack of correlation and frequent inverse correlation with risk assets," said Mark O'Byrne, research director at GoldCore. "The precious metals' hedging benefits to investors' portfolios are being seen as they again benefit from a safe haven bid exactly when investors need it," he said. December gold rose $34.20, or 2.9%, to settle at $1,227.60 an ounce. That was the highest finish since Aug. 1 for a most-active contract, according to FactSet data.