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MW: Gold fights to rise as traders await rate-hike clues
Gold prices were little-changed for a second straight day on Wednesday with investors reluctant to take risks ahead of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy-setting confab, which could offer guidance on the timing and pace of rate increases.

April gold GCJ7, -0.15% slipped 70 cents, or less than 0.1%, to $1,238.10 an ounce. May silver SIK7, -0.30% traded down 4 cents, or 0.2%, at $18.04 an ounce.

The minutes from the meeting will be made public at 2 p.m. Eastern and will reflect discussions around monetary policy from the Fed’s Jan. 31-Feb. 1 meeting. Hints that the Fed will move to raise rates rapidly typically leads to a stronger dollar. That, in turn, usually provides a headwind to dollar-pegged assets including gold, making them less attractive to buyers using other monetary units.
“A hawkish tone echoing remarks from a broad range of central bank officials including Chairwoman Janet Yellen that bolsters the probability of a March rate hike is likely boost the greenback and baseline yields alike. Needless to say, that is likely to bode ill for alternative store-of-value assets including the yellow metal,” said Ilya Spivak, currency and metals strategist with Daily FX.

The WSJ Dollar Index BUXX, -0.01% a measure of the U.S. dollar against 16 major currencies, was up 0.1% at 91.34 but had dipped as low as 91.12. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, +0.14% which gauges the buck against six rivals, rose 0.2% to 101.62 after twisting higher and lower.

On Tuesday, the dollar index closed at its highest since January 12 after Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said he would likely support an interest-rate increase at the central bank’s March meeting if the data support such a move.

As metals prices stalled, the exchange-traded fund SPDR Gold Trust GLD, +0.04% was up a slim 0.1% premarket. The iShares Silver ETF SLV, +0.07% was little changed, while the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners GDX, -1.22% fell 0.1%.

In other metals on Comex, May copper HGK7, -0.80% fell 3 cents, or 1%, to $2.73 a pound. The industrial metal has been trading around a one-week high on the back of production suspensions at major mines, but pared those gains somewhat on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, June palladium PAM7, -0.88% rose $1.55, or 0.2%, at $781.70 an ounce, and April platinum PAJ7, -0.38% was at $1,003.80 an ounce, down $2.20 or 0.2%.