Gold Prices Can't Break $1,160, Head Lower

Gold prices were struggling Thursday as a stronger U.S. dollar pressured gold.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- The

gold price

Thursday was unable to break $1,160 an ounce as prices fell on a U.S. dollar rally.

Gold for June delivery was losing $6.20 to $1,153.40 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price Thursday has traded as high as $1,159.10 and as low as $1,151.50. The

U.S. dollar index

was rising 0.52% to $80.61. The spot gold price was losing over $1, according to Kitco's gold index.

Gold is having a hard time breaking and holding the $1,160 resistance area. Any jump to that level prompts profit-taking and a dip to $1,150. The

U.S. dollar was stronger

Thursday despite the fact that

Federal Reserve

Chairman Ben Bernanke Wednesday reiterated his commitment to keeping itnerest rates low for an extended period of time.

Hovering on the sidelines for the gold price is the worry that China might ramp up its efforts to restrict growth.

China's economy

grew 11.9% in the first quarter, its fastest pace in almost three years. The report could prompt China to cut back its stimulus, restrict lending, tighten monetary policy, or let the yuan appreciate in order to control its explosive growth and avoid inflation.

If China takes steps to curb its growth, it could hurt demand for commodities as copper and silver, which are used in industrial production, and gold, which is bought as a luxury good. According to the World Gold Council in 2009, gold consumption in China was 11% of total global gold demand. Many analysts expect gold buying from China's burgeoning middle class to support higher gold prices over the long term. Any crimp in their money flow and spending habits could hurt demand for the precious metal.

For the short term, gold prices will continue to look to the euro and U.S. dollar for direction. Greece reportedly asked to talk to the European Union, International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. Until this point Greece has not formally asked for financial aid from the EU. Greece officials are still planning to come to the U.S. and try to raise money in a bond sale. Many analysts think Greece debt concerns will continue to pressure the euro and weigh on gold prices.

"For the moment we expect the current theme of consolidation to continue," says James Moore, analyst at

thebulliondesk.com

in his daily metals report. "On the charts,

the previous trend line resistance at $1,132 should now provide support although gold still requires a close above $1,162 to confirm a break-out above the January high."

The

price of silver

was slipping 13 cents to $18.28 while copper prices were down 3 cents at $3.57. Palladium prices were easing off their new two-year high and slipping over $4 to $543.50.

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Mining stocks, a more leveraged way to

invest in gold

, were mixed.

Barrick Gold

(ABX)

was trading at $40.67 while

Newmont Mining

(NEM) - Get Report

was at $53.55. Other large-cap miners

Kinross Gold

(KGC) - Get Report

and

Goldcorp

(GG)

were trading at $18.48 and $40.17, respectively.

Shares of

Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold

(FCX) - Get Report

were at $85.36 while

Yamana Gold

(AUY) - Get Report

was trading at $10.28.

Shares of the popular physically backed ETF,

SPDR Gold Shares

(GLD) - Get Report

were falling 0.12% to $112.89.

>>Slideshow: How to Invest in Gold

>>More stories on gold investing

--

Written by Alix Steel in New York

.

Alix joined TheStreet.com 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.