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Gold Ekes Out Late Gain

Besides the Fed, many central banks are also increasingly backing up their inflation-fighting rhetoric with actual rate hikes. Adding to dollar weakness on Wednesday, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet signaled more rate hikes were likely in the eurozone this year.

"We are not satisfied with what we are observing with regard to inflation in our own area," Trichet said in a speech at the European Parliament, according to Bloomberg. "We'll continue to do all that's necessary to counter inflationary risks and anchor inflationary expectations."

Likewise, Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui on Tuesday fueled expectations that the BOJ will hasten a process to unravel its 5-year-old policy of keeping interest rates near zero. Fukui said that interest rates need to move from zero "without delay."

Meanwhile, metals-mining shares were sharply higher in recent action, tracking a broad rally on Wall Street. The Philadelphia Gold and Silver index was recently up 4%, the Amex Gold Bugs index was up 5.1% and the CBOE Gold index was rising 5.6%.

Among the biggest gainers, Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM) was up 7%, Gold Fields (GFI) was up 8% and Hecla Mining (HL) was up 6%.

Glamis Gold (GLG) jumped 9% after the Reno, Nevada-based miner doubled the estimate of gold reserves at its Penasquito mine in Mexico.

The recently launched Market Vectors-Gold Miners (GDX) exchange-traded fund, which tracks the performance of the Amex Gold Miners Index, was up 4.8%.

ETFs tracking the metals themselves were also rising. The iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 3%, and the StreetTRACKS Gold Trust (GLD) was rising 2.4%.

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