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(Kitco News) - Comex gold and silver futures prices ended weaker Thursday on some profit-taking pressure following their recent gains that took gold to a record high and silver to a nearly three-month high. Bargain-hunting buying interest in gold at the daily lows did limit its losses on the day. August gold last traded down $1.20 at $1,613.90 an ounce. Spot gold last traded up $0.50 an ounce at $1,615.00. December Comex silver last traded down $0.788 at $39.805 an ounce.

The business news headlines are still mostly about the U.S. Congress and the debt-limit impasse. There were no fresh developments on the matter Thursday. While most traders and investors still believe a debt-limit-hike agreement will be reached before the U.S. government defaults on its payments, the market place is becoming more jittery as the self-imposed August 2 deadline approaches for lawmakers. The U.S. debt limit debacle is bullish for the safe-haven precious metals and especially gold. While the U.S. debt limit fiasco is presently grabbing the news headlines the likely bigger debt issue lies with the European Union. The EU debt crisis is likely to support investor demand for gold for months to come.

The U.S. dollar index traded firmer Thursday on more short covering. The firmer greenback did somewhat limit the upside in the precious metals Thursday. The dollar index bears do still have the overall near-term technical advantage. However, it's near present price levels in the dollar index that historical lows have been put in place.

Crude oil prices traded near steady Thursday and provided little direction for gold and silver. If crude oil resumes its rally and pushes above major psychological resistance at $100.00 a barrel that would be a bullish factor for the precious metals.

The London P.M. gold fixing was $1,613.50 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,625.00.

Technically, August gold futures prices closed near mid-range Thursday. Gold bulls still have the strong overall near-term technical advantage. Prices are in a six-month-old uptrend on the daily bar chart and in a 10-year-old uptrend on the monthly chart. Bulls' next near-term upside technical objective is to produce a close above solid resistance at $1,650.00. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below solid technical support at last week's low of $1,581.10. First resistance is seen at Thursday's high of $1,620.60 and then at the record high of $1,628.80. First support is seen at Thursday's low of $1,602.80 and then at $1,600.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 8.0.

December silver futures prices closed near mid-range Thursday. The silver bulls still have the overall technical advantage. Bulls' next upside price objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at this week's high of $41.47 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at last week's low of $38.26. First resistance is seen at $40.00 and then at Thursday's high of $40.61. Next support is seen at Thursday's low of $39.38 and then at $39.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 6.5.

December N.Y. copper closed up 255 points 449.15 cents Thursday. Prices closed nearer the session high today. The copper bulls have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. Copper bulls' next upside breakout objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at the July high of 451.20 cents. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at last week's low of 438.75 cents. First resistance is seen at 451.20 cents and then at 452.50 cents. First support is seen at 447.50 cents and then at Thursday's low of 445.15 cents. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 7.5.

Follow me on Twitter! If you want daily, or nightly, up-to-the-second market analysis on gold and silver price action, then follow me on Twitter. It's free, too. My account is @jimwyckoff .

By Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News; jwyckoff@kitco.com

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