NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- George Soros's big hedge fund, a firm operated by investor John Burbank and some other leading firms have been selling gold and silver, The Wall Street Journal reported, leading to plunges the last two days in both metals.

On Tuesday, gold for June delivery closed down $16.70 to $1,540.40 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver prices fell $3.49 to $42.58 an ounce and almost breached the $40 level in after-hours trading.

The Journal said the selling suggested the nine-month, sharp run-up in the precious metals could be entering more dangerous territory.

The newspaper, however, reported that some prominent investment professionals, like hedge-fund manager John Paulson, continue to favor precious metals.

Early Wednesday, gold prices were down a further $4.10 to $1,536.30 an ounce, while silver slipped 84 cents to $41.74.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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