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Gold futures were falling as mixed economic data left investors directionless.

Futures were slipping $11.50 to $885.20 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver prices were dipping 45 cents to $12.34 an ounce, while copper was trading flat at $2.20 a pound.

Gold investors continue in a wait-and-see mode as U.S. banks report earnings and a slew of economic data arrives.

JPMorgan Chase


reported better-than-expected quarterly results Thursdaym while U.S. housing starts fell 10.8% in March and new jobless claims brought the number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits to over 6 million.

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As investors digested the data, gold futures remained range bound. "

Investors want to see the bigger economic picture to see if stimulus programs are having an effect," says James Moore, analyst with "The market rally could be a light at the end of the tunnel or a stabilizing before a washout in equities. We have seen a consolidation in gold and support above $850. But futures could go a leg lower

to $800 or $810 until investors demand picks up again."

Physical demand for the precious metal has increased with India re-entering the market. There are lingering concerns, however, about China's economic growth and its long-term impact on demand. If China's growth slows, demand for gold could fall off as people stop spending money on jewelry and other luxury items.

In gold stocks, shares of

Newmont Mining


were slipping 2.8% to $41.12, and

Barrick Gold


was falling 2.2% to $29.09.

Yamana Gold


was giving up 3.2% to $7.09.

Agnico-Eagle Mines


was dipping 4.1% to $47.41, and the

Gold Shares


exchange-traded fund was relatively unchanged at $86.56. Ratings, recently cited for Best Stock Selection from October 2007 through February 2009 , is an independent research provider that combines fundamental and technical analysis to offer investors tremendous value in volatile times. To see how your portfolio can use this research, click here now!

Alix joined TV in February 2007. Previously, she held positions in film and theater production, management, and legal administration. Alix has a degree in communications and theater from Northwestern University.