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Precious Metals Move Lower

Gold and silver both fall ahead of the Fed meeting.

Precious metals prices were sliding Tuesday as traders waited for the Federal Open Market Committee's policy statement, due at 2:15 p.m. EDT.

Benchmark contracts for gold bullion recently were off $4.30 at $679 an ounce, while prices for silver were lower by 5 cents at $12.99 an ounce.

The exchange-traded funds which hold reserves of bullion, the

streetTracks Gold Shares

(GLD) - Get SPDR Gold Trust Report

and the

iShares Silver Trust

(SLV) - Get iShares Silver Trust Report

, were lower as well.

Among stocks, platinum producer

Stillwater Mining

(SWC)

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reported a loss of 3 cents a share for the second quarter, even with its losses for the same period a year ago. The company said labor negotiations during the recent period affected its results.

Shares of Stillwater were declining 7.5% to $8.25.

Harmony Gold Mining

(HMY) - Get Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. Sponsored ADR Report

was sliding for the second straight session after the firm's CEO took investors by surprise Monday by stepping down amid a weak earnings report. Shares recently were off about 13% at $9.56, on top of a 10% fall Monday.

As for base metals, prices for copper contracts recently were ahead by 2 cents at $3.49 a pound.

Elsewhere, Morgan Joseph upgraded scrap metal processor

Metalico

(MEA)

to a buy rating from hold and pinned on a stock price target of $9 a share. The stock recently was trading up about 1% at $7.49.

Turning to the foreign exchange markets, the dollar was seeing mixed action. Euros were trading for $1.377, down from $1.3783 late Monday. Dollars were changing hands for 118.52 yen, vs. 119.09 yen previously. The pound was buying $2.022, down from $2.03 a day earlier.

In the agricultural sector, wheat prices were up 5 cents at $6.89 a bushel, while prices for soybeans were down 3 cents at $8.47 a bushel.