What happened

Shares of several smaller gold and silver mining companies made big moves on Monday in both directions. Endeavor Silver (NYSE:EXK) and New Gold (NYSEMKT:NGD) led those rallying, with both of them up more than 10% at one point today. Osisko Gold Royalties (NYSE:OR), on the other hand, tumbled 10% by 2:30 p.m. EDT. Several catalysts caused shares of these precious metal companies to make noteworthy moves.

So what

The price of gold rallied today, closing up more than 1% to $1,531 per ounce. That was its highest closing price in more than two weeks. Driving the rally in the gold market was weak economic data in Europe, which increased concerns that the global economy is slowing down. Given that investors see gold as a safe haven, an economic slowdown could send its price even higher. And that's good news for producers like Endeavor Silver and New Gold, which is why their stocks surged today.

A red line moving down with gold nuggets in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Endeavor Silver, meanwhile, got another dose of good news today. An analyst at Noble Capital upgraded its stock from market perform to outperform. 

Higher gold prices are one reason analysts are growing more bullish on smaller producers like Endeavor, since higher prices will boost cash flow. Analysts at RBC Capital also upgraded shares of New Gold earlier this month, noting that at current metals prices, the company had a much more balanced risk-reward situation.

Osisko Gold, meanwhile, headed in the opposite direction today despite the rally in the gold market. The company agreed to pay 338 million Canadian dollars ($255 million) for all the outstanding shares of Barkerville Gold that it doesn't already own. While the deal will add the potentially world-class Cariboo Gold project to Osisko's portfolio, it's paying a 44% premium for control of Barkerville. It's also the company's second deal this month, having also agreed to acquire bankrupt Stornoway Diamond. These acquisitions could put some strain on Osisko's finances, which is why its shares are slumping.

Now what

The rising price of gold is helping boost shares of most gold stocks today, with smaller producers getting the biggest lift. That's making analysts more bullish on their prospects. If that trend keeps up, these stocks could continue rallying.

Those rising prices, meanwhile, are giving some miners the confidence to make acquisitions. But given the sector's poor track record of making deals, investors aren't pleased with Osisko's high-priced buyout of Barkerville. That's because the deal won't pay off unless gold prices cooperate.