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Gold futures rose Tuesday, extending their gains to a third session in a row to mark their highest settlement in more than a week.

“Gold prices are likely to move higher as stimulus talks continue over in Washington, and this is the biggest catalyst which is driving the prices higher,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, told MarketWatch. “Having said that, we really need to break above the $1,900 mark before we can be confident that bulls are back in town.”

“We really need to break above the $1,900 mark before we can be confident that bulls are back in town.”

— Naeem Aslam, AvaTrade

Against that backdrop, gold for April delivery GCJ21, +0.16% GC00, +0.16%  added $3.30, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,837.50 an ounce, the highest most-active contract finish since Feb. 1, FactSet data show. The move followed a 1.2% gain on Monday. Prices climbed Friday, after dropping more than 2% Thursday to its lowest finish since late November.

March silver SIH21, -0.84% SI00, -0.84%, meanwhile, edged down by 17 cents, or 0.6%, at $27.402 an ounce, after it rose 2.1% in the prior session.

A slight retrenchment in equities Tuesday and a retreat in the U.S. dollar, along with steadiness in yields for U.S. Treasurys provided some support for gold, commodity experts said.

Gold and silver futures prices traded firmer “as a weaker U.S. dollar index and a pause in the U.S. stock market rally are giving the metals bulls some strength,” wrote Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco.com, in a daily research note.

Some dealers also speculated that a recent rise in bitcoin, reignited by an announcement by electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc. TSLA that it had purchased $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency, was also putting pressure on the U.S. currency and thereby buttressing gold.

Bitcoin BTCUSD, +5.23% on Tuesday hit a record above $48,000.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar was down 0.4% on Tuesday and has declined by about 0.5% so far this week, gauged by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.54%.

A weaker dollar can make assets priced in the currency comparatively more expensive to overseas buyers.

“More and more it appears that bitcoin is gaining credibility among the veteran market watchers that may have been early naysayers to the cryptocurrency asset class,” Wyckoff said.

“It appears that safe-haven gold and silver may be gaining some buying interest from the bitcoin surge this week, possibly due to notions the growing move by investors into bitcoin as an asset class will take away some of the allure of the U.S. dollar being what many consider the ultimate safe-haven asset,” the analyst said.

Among other Comex-traded metals, March copper HGH21, +1.51% rose 1.5% to $3.72 a pound. April platinum PLJ21, +1.56% gained 1.6% to $1,194.40 an ounce and March palladium PAH21, -0.69% settled at $2,320.60 an ounce, down 0.7%.