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(Kitco News) - Comex February gold futures prices ended the U.S. day session higher Wednesday, on follow-through buying strength from the solid gains scored on Tuesday. The gold market bulls are trying to regain some upside momentum following last week’s drubbing. The gold market was under mild selling pressure in early trading Wednesday, but traders stepped in to buy that weakness. ¬†February gold last traded up $14.80 at $1,615.30 an ounce. Spot gold was last quoted up $10.80 an ounce at $1,615.00.¬† March Comex silver last traded down $0.427 at $29.145 an ounce.

The latest Iran-U.S. stare-down is also prompting some fresh safe-haven investment demand for gold. Reports Wednesday also said good Asian physical demand for gold has surfaced following the recent decline in prices.

The U.S. dollar index traded higher early Wednesday, which did limit the upside for the precious metals. The dollar index bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage, which is a bearish underlying factor for gold and silver. The dollar index has been and likely will continue to be a major “outside market” force for the precious metals. Remember, however, that if a geopolitical development heats up markedly and unexpectedly, both gold and the U.S. dollar can appreciate at the same time.

Crude oil prices traded steady to weaker Wednesday afternoon but did hit a fresh seven- month high earlier in the day. Crude oil prices trading above $100.00 a barrel is an underlying bullish factor for the precious metals.

The London P.M. gold fixing was $1,613.00 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,598.00.

Technically, February gold futures prices closed nearer the session high again Wednesday and saw more short covering. Prices are still in a seven-week-old downtrend on the daily bar chart and the bulls still have more work to do in the near term to re-establish an uptrend on the daily chart. Bulls' next upside technical breakout objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at $1,643.70. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below solid technical support at last week’s low of $1,523.90. First resistance is seen at Wednesday’s high of $1,619.80 and then at $1,625.00. First support is seen at $1,600.00 and then at Wednesday’s low of $1,593.80. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 4.0.

March silver futures prices closed nearer the session low Wednesday. The key “outside markets” were in a mostly bearish posture for the silver market Wednesday, as the U.S. dollar index was higher, while crude oil prices were steady to weaker. Silver prices are still in a seven-week-old downtrend on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at $30.21 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below major technical support at last week’s low of $26.145. First resistance is seen at Wednesday’s high of $29.74 and then at $30.00. Next support is seen at Wednesday’s low of $28.90 and then at $28.50. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 3.5.

March N.Y. copper closed down 1,010 points 342.75 cents Wednesday. Prices closed near the session low today and scored a bearish “outside day” down on the daily bar chart after hitting a fresh three-week high early on. The key “outside markets” were in a mostly bearish posture for the copper market today, as the U.S. dollar index was higher, while crude oil prices were steady to weaker. Copper bulls and bears are back on a level near-term technical playing field. Copper bulls' next upside breakout objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at the December high of 367.40 cents. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at the December low of 323.25 cents. First resistance is seen at 345.00 cents and then at 350.00 cents. First support is seen at Wednesday’s low of 342.00 cents and then at 340.00 cents. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 5.0.

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By Jim Wyckoff contributing to Kitco News; jim@jimwyckoff.com

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