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(Kitco News) - Comex February gold futures prices ended the U.S. day session moderately lower Tuesday on a corrective technical pullback and some profit-taking pressure from recent gains. The key “outside markets were also in a mildly bearish posture for the precious metals markets Tuesday, as the U.S. dollar index was firmer and crude oil prices were weaker. February gold last traded down $12.50 at $1,665.80 an ounce. Spot gold was last quoted down $10.70 an ounce at $1,666.00.  March Comex silver last traded down $0.295 at $31.975 an ounce.

Gold prices also felt some selling pressure Tuesday from the fact Asia is celebrating the lunar new year this week, which has curtailed physical demand for the precious yellow metal coming out of that region.

Fresh developments coming out of the European Union debt crisis Tuesday included some dimming optimism regarding Greek officials and their private sector discussing their debt restructuring. Reports said those discussions have at least temporarily stalled. However, there was some better economic data coming out of the EU Tuesday, which worked to mitigate the stalled Greece debt talks. The EU debt crisis finds no easy fixes and will not go away soon, which is a major bullish underlying factor for gold. The market place, including the precious metals sector, will continue to closely monitor the day-to-day machinations coming out of the EU, regarding their sovereign debt and financial crisis.

The U.S. dollar index was firmer Tuesday on a mild recovery from recent selling pressure. The greenback bulls have faded recently, which has benefitted the gold and silver markets recently. Crude oil prices traded weaker Tuesday as prices hover near $100.00 a barrel. That was also a slight negative for the metals Tuesday. These two “outside markets” will continue to have a daily influence on gold and silver prices.

The London P.M. gold fixing was $1,665.50 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,675.50.

Technically, February gold futures prices closed nearer the session low Tuesday and saw corrective pullback after hitting a fresh six-week high on Monday. Gold bulls still have the overall near-term technical advantage. A four-week-old uptrend is still in place on the daily bar chart. Bulls' next upside technical breakout objective is to produce a close above psychological resistance at $1,700.00. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below chart support at the last reaction low on the daily chart, at $1,625.70. First resistance is seen at Monday’s high of $1,681.80 and then at $1,700.00. First support is seen at Tuesday’s low of $1,661.00 and then at $1,650.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 6.0.

March silver futures prices closed nearer the session low Tuesday on a corrective pullback from recent gains that saw prices Monday hit a six-week high. Silver bulls still have the near-term technical advantage. A four-week-old uptrend is still in place on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at the December high of $33.74 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below major psychological support at $30.00. First resistance is seen at Tuesday’s high of $32.47 and then at Monday’s high of $32.775. Next support is seen at Monday’s low of $31.79 and then at $31.50. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 6.0.

March N.Y. copper closed up 40 points 380.25 cents Tuesday. Prices closed nearer the session high. The key “outside markets” were also bearish for copper Tuesday, as crude oil prices here weaker and the U.S. dollar index was firmer. Copper prices Friday hit a fresh three-month high. Copper bulls have the solid near-term technical advantage. Prices are in a six-week-old uptrend on the daily bar chart. Copper bulls' next upside breakout objective is pushing and closing prices above major psychological resistance at 400.00 cents. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at last week’s low of 359.40 cents. First resistance is seen at last week’s high of 383.40 cents and then at 385.00 cents. First support is seen at 377.50 cents and then at today’s low of 374.95 cents. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 7.0.

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

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