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Gold Prices Pull Back on Profit-Taking

Stocks in this article: NGD GFI

The euro was slipping slightly against the dollar as the Irish finance minister, Brian Lenihan, unvieled tax hikes and spending cuts the country must support in order to receive bailout money from the IMF/EU fund. Parliament still has yet to pass the austerity measure and a failure to do so would force Ireland to wait even longer for a financial life raft.

Silver prices, on the other hand, remained in record territory, settling 4 cents higher at $29.77. The poorer cousin of the yellow metal reached a 30-year high on Monday as ongoing European debt-contagion fears and Bernanke's talk about a possible third round of quantitative easing brought out the sparkle in gold's cheaper alternative.

According to BullionVault's head of research Adrian Ash, investors are increasingly going beyond gold to help diversify their portfolios.

Savant says that silver's safe-haven appeal is helping support high prices but that its fabrication uses are propelling their momentum. " Silver is used in electronics and solar panels so you have this dual role that silver plays on the fabrication as well as the investment side." Savant says it would be normal for silver to correct on profit-taking but that in January the metal will be set to make new 30-year highs.

Copper was also benefiting from improving risk appetite on supply constraints and hope that the industrial metal will be in high demand. Copper closed 4 cents higher at $4.04. News that JPMorgan was the buyer of more than $1 billion of copper helped the base metal pop as traders worried about supply issues and market domination by the investment bank and its clients.

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Gold mining stocks, a risky but potentially potentially profitable way to buy gold, were slipping as investors took profits.

Kinross Gold (KGC) was down by 1.93% to $18.83 while Randgold Resources (GG) was losing 1.04% to $92.48. New Gold (NGD) was shedding 2.56% to $9.88 after shares were downgraded to market perform from outperform at BMO Capital. Gold Fields (GFI) was trading flat at $18.11 after the stock was upgraded to overweight from neutral at HSBC.

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-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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