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Gold Prices Settle Near Record

Gold prices have tried three times to break and sustain record highs. Gold's record settle was Dec. 6 at $1,416.10 an ounce -- a level almost reached at Wednesday's close -- while the intraday high came on Dec. 7 at $1,432.50. Every time gold tops $1,400, however, substantial profit-taking has prevented any chance of it another leg higher.

On Wednesday though, it looks like buying and U.S. dollar weakness trumped profit-taking. Volume was scarce ahead of the New Year's holiday, so a trend might have to wait until next year.

Scott Redler, chief strategic officer at, says he needs to see the gold price close above $1,400 for a few trading days before he believes this breakout is sustainable.

"If the bears can't fill that gap" left from Tuesday's double-digit rally, "there's pressure there to the upside, and it means the bulls are in control," says Redler. The longer gold can hold that gap, the more short-traders will be forced to cover their positions and the more momentum traders will be forced to chase higher prices. This combination could be a perfect storm for an aggressive pop in gold.

If the price gap is filled, Redler predicts that gold will stay range-bound between $1,320 and $1,400 and that prices will need more time before a bigger rally.

China also raised interest rates again Wednesday. The rediscount rate, the interest rate banks must pay when they borrow money from the central bank, was increased by 45 basis points. The relending rate was raised by 52 basis points.

Today's rate hikes are not expected to seriously control inflation in the country, but are the follow-ups to China's more aggressive increase in the lending and deposit rates last Saturday. Gold has consistently shrugged off moves by China to combat inflation and appeared to be following suit today.

Silver prices added 38 cents to $30.70, a record close, while copper was down 1 cent at $4.31, after hitting another record high Tuesday of $4.33 .

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Gold mining stocks , a risky but potentially profitable way to buy gold, were mixed. Kinross Gold (KGC - Get Report) was 0.21% lower at $18.88 while Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX - Get Report) was adding 0.73% at $119.15. Other gold stocks New Gold (NGD - Get Report) and Gold Fields (GFI - Get Report) were trading at $9.60 and $17.82, respectively.

-- Written by Alix Steel in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Alix Steel.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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