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) --

Gold prices

were slipping Wednesday as the U.S. dollar staged a mini-rally.

Gold for April delivery was falling $3.50 to $1,073.70 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have traded as high as $1,083 and as low as $1,063.10. The

U.S. dollar index was rising 0.20% to $80.03.

The dollar gained strength on Wednesday after the

Federal Reserve

released a statement by Chairman Ben Bernanke indicating that the central bank could raise the discount rate soon, but keep target federal funds rate low. The suggestion that the Fed could begin tightening monetary policy supported the dollar and weighed on gold prices, as the commodity becomes more expensive to buy in other currencies.

One variable for gold remains European sovereign debt fears. The

European Central Bank

might guarantee Greek debt, but not issue a comprehensive bailout. France and Germany were also expected to pledge support. There is an EU summit planned for Thursday to further discuss the situation in Greece, Spain and Portugal. The euro and gold are being held hostage by recovery fears as negative news or any default will send the currency and prices tumbling.

"While there are still concerns over sovereign debt in Europe, gold is still attached firmly to the dollar at the moment," says Will Rhind, head of U.S. Operations for ETF Securities. "

But we think that gold has a favorable outlook

and that the fundamentals for gold still remain intact. We think that going forward the structural weakness of the dollar will continue to help gold prices."

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Silver prices

were slipping 16 cents to $15.27 while copper was flat at $2.99.

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Mining stocks, a more leveraged way to

invest in gold

, were mixed.

Barrick Gold


was flat at $35.75 while

Newmont Mining

(NEM) - Get Newmont Corporation Report

was down 0.87% to $45.52. Other large-cap miners

Kinross Gold

(KGC) - Get Kinross Gold Corporation Report




were relatively flat at $17.66 and $36.06, respectively.

Shares of

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold

were slipping 0.67% to $71 while

Southern Copper


was rising 0.25% to $28.30.

The popular physically backed ETF,

SPDR Gold Shares

(GLD) - Get SPDR Gold Shares Report

, was trading at $105.12.

>>Slideshow: How to Invest in Gold

>>More stories on gold investing


Written by Alix Steel in New York


Alix joined TV in February 2007. Previously, she held positions in film and theater production, management, and legal administration. Alix has a degree in communications and theater from Northwestern University.