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(Kitco News) - Comex gold futures ended the U.S. day session solidly higher and near the daily high Tuesday. Bargain hunters stepped in to buy the recent dip in gold prices at mid-morning while at the same time that the key "outside markets" turned from bearish to bullish for gold. The U.S. dollar index dropped lower and lost early gains, while crude oil prices pushed up from lower levels to trade higher. April gold last traded up $25.80 an ounce at $1,750.80.  Spot gold was last quoted up $27.50 an ounce at $1,748.00.  March Comex silver last traded up $0.47 at $34.22 an ounce.

Part of the rally in precious metals Tuesday is attributed to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke telling the U.S. Senate Tuesday morning that despite last Friday’s stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs report, the U.S. economy remains overall weaker than many realize. That remark helped to sink the U.S. dollar index and rally gold and silver, on notions the Fed will continue have a very accommodative monetary policy.

The European Union sovereign debt crisis is also back in the financial news headlines. Weaker-than-expected German economic data helped to pressure the Euro currency against the U.S. dollar Tuesday. A debt- restructuring deal between the Greek government and the private sector has still not been reached, but there were reports (again) today that a deal is very close. That also helped to rally the Euro currency and pressure the dollar index. Gold is a safe-haven asset and the yellow metal could rally if the EU crisis escalates in the near term—even if the U.S. dollar index rallies, too.

Crude oil prices rallied in late-morning trading Tuesday and that also supported the precious metals. Crude oil and the U.S. dollar index will remain the two key “outside markets” that will generally have at least some daily influence on gold and silver price moves.

The London P.M. gold fixing was $1,724.00 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,719.00.

Technically, April gold futures prices closed near the session high Tuesday and scored a bullish “outside day” up on the daily bar chart as bargain hunters stepped in to buy the recent dip in prices. Gold bulls have the solid overall near-term technical advantage and regained upside momentum Tuesday. A five-week-old uptrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Bulls' next upside technical breakout objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at the December high of $1,769.70. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below psychological support at $1,700.00. First resistance is seen at Tuesday’s high of $1,752.60 and then at last week’s high of $1,765.90. First support is seen at $1,740.00 and then at $1,725.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 7.0.

March silver futures prices closed nearer the session high Tuesday. Silver bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage and regained some upside momentum Tuesday. A five-week-old uptrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at the October high of $35.68 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at $31.525. First resistance is seen at last week’s high of $34.41 and then at $35.00. Next support is seen at $34.00 and then at $33.50. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 7.0.

March N.Y. copper closed up 50 points 386.95 cents Tuesday. Prices closed near the session high today. The key “outside markets” turned bullish for copper Tuesday, as the U.S. dollar index weakened and crude oil prices rallied. Copper bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage. Prices are in a seven-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 367.50 cents. First resistance is seen at 390.00 cents and then at the January high of 393.90 cents. First support is seen at 382.80 cents and then at Tuesday’s low of 379.40 cents. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 6.5.

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

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