Gold Prices Rise Awaiting Fed Moves (Update 1)

Updated from 10:11 a.m. EDT with analyst comments and settlement prices

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices rose Wednesday as traders continued to hold out for next week's Federal Reserve minutes.

Gold for December delivery rose $4.20 to settle at $1,606.60 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,608.80 and as low as $1,592.10 an ounce, while the spot price was climbing $5.70, according to Kitco's gold index.

"Gold ... up and down somewhat waiting for Ben Bernanke at end of the month," George Gero, precious metals strategist at RBC Wealth Management, wrote in a morning note.

Silver prices for September delivery settled up about 5 cents to $27.81 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was up 0.15% to $82.67.

Traders have waited for the Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes to emerge next Wednesday as chatter has grown that they could provide a monetary easing signal from central bankers.

Inflation held steady Wednesday after the U.S. consumer price index came in unchanged on a month-to-month basis. A consensus of economists expected CPI to rise 0.2% in July.

The flat CPI report is good news for gold investors as it could further push the Fed toward some sort of monetary stimulus.

"It certainly is an indication that inflation is probably the last thing the Federal Reserve has to be worrying about as it continues to figure out ways to keep the economy stimulated, responsibly," said Matthew Kaufler, portfolio manager at Federated Clover Investment Advisors.

As for the possibility of Fed easing as early as next Wednesday, Kaufler said he doubts it will happen as the Fed appears reluctant to do anything.

The European Central Bank won't announce new policy until September, and China's central bank has yet to suggest any easing when last week it seemed there was a strong possibility.

As gold moves into the fall and away from the weak activity of summer, some traders think the yellow metal is poised for a jump.

Dave Banister, chief investment strategist at TheMarketTrendForecast.com, said he believes gold will start a new leg up around October because it would mark the end of a 13-month corrective period from last year's gold price highs.

"My opinion is once you cross $1,630 on a closing basis, just based on technical analysis, begins to make the chart look more bullish," said Banister. "It's really more of another shift, and investor sentiment will start pushing money into it again."

Gold mining stocks were mixed on Wednesday. Agnico-Eagle Mines ( AEM) was dipping 1.4%, while NovaGold Resources ( NG) was gaining 3.5%.

Among other mining stocks, Barrick Gold ( ABX) and Kinross Gold ( KGC) were up 0.76% and 0.11% respectively, while Goldcorp ( GG) was down 1.1%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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