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Gold Prices Lose Steam After Reaching Record

NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- Gold and silver prices gave up their gains Thursday after gold hit a record and silver popped to a 31-year high on Wednesday.

Gold for April delivery settled down $3.10 to $1,443.90 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,448.60, a record, and as low as $1,436 while the spot gold price was shedding $4.50, according to Kitco's gold index.

Gold settled at a record on Wednesday at $1,438 an ounce. Prices have tried four times to conquer and sustain record high levels, but have sold off each time. The selloffs have pushed the metal back down to $1,300 an ounce.

The question is can traders become more interested in gold and prevent prices from hitting a fifth top? Prices hit some resistance in early trading on solid weekly initial jobless claims, which were below the 400,000 mark and which were drawing investor interest into stocks away from gold. But as the U.S. dollar continued to weaken, precious metals rallied. Towards the end of the session prices sold off as profit takers jumped in.

The selloff was "technical in nature [and] took place as currency fluctuations increased and profit taking ahead of Friday evening out set off some sell stops," says George Gero, senior vice president at RBC Capital Markets.

Mihir Dange of Arbitrage said he would be buying if gold can break and hold $1,445.70 an ounce. "A breakout from there could propel us to $1,480-$1,490."

"You've got a lot of things that are stacked up in gold's favor right now," argues Adrian Ash, head of research for "Monetary policy is way too loose across the world ... This is as bad as the negative real interest rate have been since the 1970."

Ash contends that even a series of rate hikes won't be enough to tame negative real interest rates. He believes the Bank of England, Federal Reserve and, to an extent, the ECB put themselves in a powerless position where they can't raise rates for fear of slowing growth but they can't lower rates anymore. "Negative real rates are the only game in town."

Gold might see some future headwinds from a stronger U.S. dollar, which could gain in value if the euro tanks on European sovereign debt fears. But, if 2010 is a guide, gold could initially suffer but then bounce as new investors jump into the market.

Ash fervently believes that gold is not a bubble and that those who say it is are "confusing longevity with speed." Gold has been in a bull market for 10 years versus its previous 20 year bear market.
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