NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Spot gold prices were gaining ground midday Wednesday as the euro currency regained strength against the dollar on expectations that the European Central Bank will step up its measures to alleviate the euro-zone debt crisis.

The U.S. dollar index fell 0.4% to $81, lifting both gold prices and the yellow metal's less expensive counterpart, silver.

Meanwhile, platinum and palladium, which are used in the manufacturing of auto catalysts, also held their own, driven by expectations of improving car sales in the wake of strong economic data out the U.S. and China Wednesday.

New York spot gold prices were rising by $3, or 0.2% to $1,390.20, according to Kitco's spot price index.

Spot silver prices were tacking on 38 cents, or 1.4%, to $28.49.
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Spot platinum prices were up by $20, or 1.2%, to $1,681 an ounce as its sister metal popped.
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New York spot palladium prices were up $28, or 4%, to $725 an ounce.

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Precious metal mining stocks and ETFs -- which offer another form of exposure to precious metals -- were trading in positive territory Wednesday. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX - Get Report) was rising by 3.2% to $104.57 and Silvercorp Metals ( SVM - Get Report) was adding 3.3% to $12.71. Stillwater Mining ( SWC) was higher by 4.9% to $19.85 and ETFS Physical Palladium Shares ( PALL - Get Report) was advancing by 4.8% to $73.04.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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