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(Kitco News) – Gold and silver prices are weaker in early U.S. trading Wednesday, as there are bearish daily “outside market” forces working against the precious metals market bulls: a higher U.S. dollar index and lower crude oil prices. The near-term technical postures for gold and silver are still leaning bearish, which is also inviting some of the chart-based traders to the sell sides. April gold was last down $5.70 at $2,038.40. March silver was last down $0.217 at $22.315.

Asian and European stock markets were mostly lower in overnight trading. U.S. stock index futures are set to open down when the New York day session begins.

Bitcoin prices have soared this week and are presently trading around $60,000. Barron’s today reported bitcoin’s rise is due to better risk appetite in the marketplace, the big rally in the technology heavy Nasdaq stock index, and notions the Federal Reserve will lower U.S. interest rates later this year.

The U.S. data point of the week is likely going to be Thursday morning’s personal income and outlays report for January, which includes the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) inflation indexes. The PCE price index in January is seen up 2.6%, year-on-year, while the core PCE price index is seen up 2.9% in the same period. Those forecasts are just slightly higher than the readings seen in the December report.

The key outside markets today see the U.S. dollar index higher. Nymex crude oil prices are down and trading around $78.00 a barrel. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note is presently fetching 4.284%.

U.S. economic data due for release Wednesday includes the weekly MBA mortgage applications survey, the second estimate of four-quarter gross domestic product, the advance economic indicators report and the DOE liquid energy stocks report.

Technically, the gold futures bears have the slight overall near-term technical advantage. Prices are in a three-month-old downtrend on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside price objective is to produce a close in April futures above solid resistance at the February high of $2,083.20. Bears’ next near-term downside price objective is pushing futures prices below solid technical support at $2,000.00. First resistance is seen at the overnight high of $3,042.50 and then at last week’s high of $2,053.20. First support is seen at the overnight low of $2,033.40 and then at $2,025.00. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 4.5.

The silver bears have the overall near-term technical advantage. Silver bulls’ next upside price objective is closing March futures prices above solid technical resistance at the February high of $23.56. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at the February low of $21.975. First resistance is seen at Tuesday’s high of $22.71 and then at $23.00. Next support is seen at the overnight low of $22.245 and then at $22.00. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 3.0.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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