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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Gold prices

tanked Wednesday, down more than $150 in two days, as durable goods orders jumped in July and gold investors rushed for the exits.

Gold for December delivery plummeted $104 to close at $1,757.30 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The

gold price

has traded as high as $1,856.80 and as low as $1,761.10 during Tuesday's session, while the spot gold price was down $66.80, according to Kitco's gold index.

Silver prices

sank $3.12 to settle at $39.16 an ounce. The

U.S. dollar index

was up 0.20% at $74.02 while the euro was down 0.09% vs. the dollar.

Gold prices, already at elevated levels, tumbled after orders for durable goods surged 4% in July. Excluding transportation, orders climbed 0.7%, with both numbers well above expectations. With macro data and growth prospects weak of late, the positive reading was a surprise and gave investors confidence to take profits in gold.

Vote: Where will gold prices finish in 2011?

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Gold was extremely overbought, rallying more than $300 in a little more than a month, and most experts were calling for a correction. This one came fast and furious. Gold also sank Tuesday falling as much as $80 from its intraday high of $1,917 an ounce, as worries over margin hikes hit markets and as investors opted for stocks. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose more than 300 points on Tuesday, an uptrend which tentatively continued today.

Concerns that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange could raise the cost of purchasing an 100 ounce futures contract were still rattling gold prices

a day after the Shanghai Gold Exchange raised margins by 1%.

George Gero, senior vice president at RBC Capital Markets, said that sell-stops, where traders are forced to sell positions, were triggered at $1,850, $1,825 and $1,800, which accelerated the selling. "The rapid selling did not counter ready buyers in an already overbought technical picture."

David Banister, chief investment strategist at ActiveTradingPartners.com, who said that gold could pivot at $1,907 an ounce, says the big support level is at $1,620 an ounce. "This is only year 10 in a 13-year bull cycle, Banister says, there are "still 3 years left, but this should be a multi-month consolidation."

Lower prices should bring out the physical gold buyers. In early trading on Wednesday, the physical market found some support particularly from India, as reported by Commerzbank.

"The price slump has obviously been used for physical buying, as confirmed by the Bombay Bullion Association, which estimates that precisely such price falls are increasingly being used for physical buying ahead of the festival season in India."

Over the past 11 years the gold price has averaged an 11% gain from mid-August through the end of December, mainly because the fall is a seasonally strong buying period. There is an array of festivals in India which gives consumers a reason to buy gold.

Commerzbank also said that Kazakhstan's central bank will buy the country's gold production -- 30 tons last year -- that otherwise would be exported. Although the country isn't a huge exporter, it underscores the trend that central banks are continuing to buy, not sell, gold, adding a key demand factor to the market. "The price of gold should initially sustain its upward trend," said the note.

News that Japan would try more creative tactics to weaken the yen by unveiling a $100 billion fund to spur mergers and acquisitions abroad thereby forcing companies to sell yen for another currency, did little to support gold in the short-term. However, the central bank's commitment to devaluing the yen to help fuel the country's exports might make the currency less of a safe haven for investors leaving gold as an alternative.

Traders will be taking advantage of price dips to buy gold at "discount" prices. Mihir Dange, founder of Arbitrage, says he is buying these dips "we've been seeing these $40-$50 ranges and I've been using these ranges as a guide ... so when we get gold up $30 that's when I get into a position to sell."

When prices back off Dange buys and he is trying to "trade like mad" until Friday before Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, gives his speech at Jackson Hole. "If you see a $50 selloff, it's probably a good time to get involved. If you see $100, it's probably a great time to get involved."

Further supporting more short-term downside for gold, Bespoke Investment Group released a note Wednesday saying that when gold has dropped more than 2.5% from an all-time or 52 week high, gold has, on average, kept falling over the next three months. " Six months later, however, the commodity has averaged positive returns," wrote B.I.G.

Gold mining stocks

were struggling Wednesday.

Kinross Gold

(KGC) - Get Kinross Gold Corporation Report

was down 2.87% to $16.57 while

Yamana Gold

(AUY) - Get Yamana Gold Inc. Report

was down 2.81% at $14.88. Other gold stocks,

Agnico-Eagle

(AEM) - Get Agnico Eagle Mines Limited Report

and

Eldorado Gold

(EGO) - Get Eldorado Gold Corporation Report

were trading at $64.62 and $18.45, respectively.

Related Articles:

How to Invest in Gold

Do Gold Prices Have Room to Rise?

--

Written by Alix Steel in

New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here:

Alix Steel

.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.