With the specter of inflation suddenly making headlines, investors might presume gold would be flourishing. Instead, the yellow metal has been floundering lately -- hitting a five-week low Thursday before rebounding Friday to end the week at $401.60 per ounce. But gold's recent retreat doesn't necessarily mean that the multiyear bull market in precious metals and related shares is over. The dollar's revival, prior to Friday, has clearly weighed on gold and other commodities priced in greenbacks such as silver. The inverse relationship between the dollar and gold is well known: When the dollar rises, gold usually falls and vice versa. So it should come as no surprise that gold has sold off as the dollar has risen in recent weeks in conjunction with a string of mainly strong economic data; the greenback has done particularly well vs. the euro, which was at $1.1992 late Thursday vs. over $1.28 in mid-February. Additionally, Jes Black, currency analyst at MG Financial Group, believes many sophisticated investors have used the recent media focus on inflation as an opportunity to exit gold -- at least for now. "What I find fascinating about watching gold and the markets is that gold is a leading indicator for inflation," Black wrote. "Gold told us for the past year that the Fed's reflation trade would push inflation into the pipeline. The smart money bought gold and is now selling, but the general public is just now hearing about inflation and knows about gold as an inflation hedge, so they want to buy. But they are too late. The trade is crowded and now unwinding." Reflecting on that unwinding, Black noted there were recently record levels of long gold positions in futures trading among speculators, or small traders. "The subsequent failure for gold to rally to sustain new 16-year highs beyond $430 per ounce earlier this month caused speculators to unwind their long positions resulting in a dramatic $20 plunge in two days," he wrote.