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Gold Prices Fall; Dollar Up

Gold prices were down Tuesday as investors awaited testimony from Ben Bernanke.
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) --

Gold prices

were dropping Tuesday as interest rate uncertainty tempered investment demand.

Gold for April delivery was slipping $9.10 to $1,104 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold has traded as high as $1,121.70 and as low as $1,099.60. The

U.S. dollar index

was rising 0.41% to $80.84.

Gold prices are taking their cue from Washington this week.

Ben Bernanke

is scheduled to testify before Congress Wednesday and Thursday over monetary policy. After

the Federal Reserve's

surprise discount rate hike last Thursday, many investors are worried that key interest rates will be raised sooner than expected. Gold is typically bought as a hedge against inflation, and an end to "free money" will put pressure on prices.

Also weighing on gold prices was a weaker-than-expected consumer confidence report. The index dropped to 46 in February, the lowest reading in 10 months, which curbed investors' risk appetite for commodities.


found some support on Monday after China re-entered the market. China was on hiatus last week for its Lunar New Year celebrations, and the return of investors helped gold hit a one-month high. But sustained upside was short lived and prices are currently trading sideways.

TheStreet Recommends

"I think we are still in a consolidation period right now," says David Morgan, founder of "I would not get long this market until we're in the $1,180 range or higher."

Silver prices

were slipping 35 cents to $15.86 while copper was down 8 cents to $3.22. Platinum and palladium were falling to $1,512 and $434, respectively.

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Mining stocks, a more leveraged way to

invest in gold

, were stumbling.

Barrick Gold


was down 3.34% to $37.09, while

Newmont Mining

(NEM) - Get Newmont Corporation Report

was falling 3.12% to $46.24. Other large-cap miners

Kinross Gold

(KGC) - Get Kinross Gold Corporation Report




were slipping to $17.69 and $36.49, respectively.

Shares of

Gold Fields

(GFI) - Get Gold Fields Ltd. Report

were down 4.87% to $11.13 after the company lowered third-quarter production guidance reportedly due to safety concerns at the Kloof gold mine.

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold

(FCX) - Get Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. Report

was lower by 3.36% to $73.74.

Shares of the popular physically backed ETF,

SPDR Gold Shares

(GLD) - Get SPDR Gold Shares Report

, were down slightly to $108.02.

>>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.