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(Kitco News) -Comex February gold futures prices ended the U.S. day session solidly higher Tuesday and hit a fresh two-week high. The key “outside markets” were in a bullish posture for the precious metals Tuesday, as the U.S. dollar index was weaker and crude oil prices were higher. February gold last traded up $25.40 at $1,633.50 an ounce. Spot gold was last quoted up $21.70 an ounce at $1,633.25.  March Comex silver last traded up $1.118 at $29.90 an ounce.

Investor risk appetite was on the upswing Tuesday and the precious metals benefitted, acting like a risk asset on this given day. The gold market has in recent weeks acted more like a risk asset and followed the raw commodity market pack in closer fashion, but it’s still my bias that the new year will find gold also trading more like a safe-haven asset during times of keener uncertainty in the market place.  

There have been no major, fresh developments coming out of the European Union debt crisis recently, which has given traders and investors some more confidence, which has in turn boosted the so-called risk assets like stocks and commodities. However, if recent history continues to play out it won’t be too long until the EU debt crisis is back on the front burner of the market place.

The U.S. dollar index traded weaker Tuesday on some profit taking after hitting a 16-month high on Monday. The weaker dollar index was a positive for the precious metals bulls Tuesday. However, the dollar index bulls still have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. 

Crude oil prices traded solidly higher Tuesday. With Nymex crude oil trading well above $100.00 a barrel and prices hitting a fresh seven-month high last week, that’s an underlying bullish factor for the precious metals.

The London P.M. gold fixing was $1,637.00 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,615.00.

Technically, February gold futures prices closed nearer the session high Tuesday and hit a fresh two-week high. Gold prices are still in a two-month-old downtrend on the daily bar chart, but now just barely. More gains on Wednesday would likely negate that near-term price downtrend. Bulls' next upside technical breakout objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at the last “reaction high” on the daily bar chart, located at $1,643.70. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below solid technical support at $1,562.50. First resistance is seen at $1,643.70 and then at $1,650.00. First support is seen at $1,625.00 and then at Tuesday’s low of $1,609.20. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 5.0.

March silver futures prices closed nearer the session high Tuesday and hit a fresh four-week high. More short covering and bargain hunting were featured. The key “outside markets” were also bullish for silver today, as the U.S. dollar index was weaker and crude oil prices were higher. A 10-week-old downtrend on the daily bar chart was negated Tuesday and silver bulls gained some fresh upside technical momentum. Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at $31.00 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below major technical support at $28.12. First resistance is seen at Tuesday’s high of $30.31 and then at $30.50. Next support is seen at $29.50 and then at $29.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 4.5.

March N.Y. copper closed up 935 points 350.95 cents Tuesday. Prices closed near the session high. The market was boosted by higher crude oil prices and a weaker U.S. dollar index today. Copper bulls regained the slight near-term technical advantage Tuesday. 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 332.50 cents. First resistance is seen at Tuesday’s high of 351.75 cents and then at 353.90 cents. First support is seen at 347.50 cents and then at 345.00 cents. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 5.5.

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By Jim Wyckoff, contributing to Kitco News; jwyckoff@kitco.com

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