Published: July 19, 2016 2:48 p.m. ET

Silver futures cling to $20-an-ounce level

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Gold futures tiptoed higher in subdued action Tuesday, notching their best settlement in almost a week as some a pull back in U.S. stocks helped to support haven demand.

Gold has generally maintained its uptrend, but has been tracking stocks recently. Equities were trading mostly lower Tuesday by the time gold prices settled.

August gold GCQ6, +0.26%  rose $3, or 0.2%, to settle $1,332.30 an ounce—the highest settlement since last Wednesday. Prices of gold rose 0.1% on Monday, after fallingsome 2% last week amid stock-market gains and Bank of England inaction on interest rates. Still, over the previous six weeks, gold had settled higher weekly for a cumulative gain of nearly 12%.

‘Gold flatlining so far this week proves again that geopolitics [don’t] move bullion prices, not like financial worries can.’

Adrian Ash, BullionVault

“Gold flatlining so far this week proves again that geopolitics [don’t] move bullion prices, not like financial worries can,” said Adrian Ash, head of research at BullionVault.

Meanwhile, “silver seems to be losing some of its sheen for China’s day-traders after early July’s surge, but the big event this week remains Thursday’s [European Central Bank] decision and news conference, he said. “That could signal a new step in the global push to inflation our way past 2016’s troubles.”

September silver SIU6, -0.50% fell 6.8 cents, or 0.3%, to $20.01 an ounce. Silver also slipped Monday but prices are still up about 7.3% month to date, outpacing gold’s 0.9% rise for the month so far.

The ICE U.S. Dollar index DXY, +0.54% was up 0.6% Tuesday, but gold bucked its typical inverse relationship with the greenback. The dollar index reversed early-Tuesday losses seen on downbeat German data.

For now, “gold is waiting for the next round of easing from Japan and then the EU,” said Keith Springer, president of Sacramento, Calif.-based Springer Financial Advisors. “Low world-wide rates will keep U.S. rates at bay.”

In the months ahead, Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said gold is “likely to remain range bound, caught between bullish and bearish factors.”

“Bearish factors include rising odds of a [U.S. Federal Reserve interest] rate increase, a likely stronger U.S. dollar and economy and some profit-taking by money managers,” he said. “Bullish factors include global geopolitical risks and the likely acceleration in inflation data, especially from stronger U.S. wage growth.”

Among the exchange-traded funds, the SPDR Gold Trust GLD, +0.13% rose 0.1%, while the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF GDX, -1.07% fell 0.9%.

Read: Bet on gold mines, but not gold

On Comex Tuesday, September copper HGU6, +0.94% rose 2.6 cents, or 1.2%, to $2.263 a pound. October platinum PLV6, -0.39%  fell $3, or 0.3%, to $1,098.60 an ounce. September palladium PAU6, +1.87% added $10.35, or 1.6%, to $656.40 an ounce.

“Industrial Metals have largely priced in the improving demand environment, borne of Chinese-led stimulus,” said Atul Lele, chief investment officer of Deltec International Group, in a note. “With liquidity conditions changing again, both in China and the U.S., the short-term outlook is less favorable, and the medium-term outlook remains challenged.”