Gold futures regained some of their lost ground Tuesday, but they were still trading lower, as worse-than-expected retail sales increased demand for the metal.

May futures were falling $7.20 to $887.80 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver prices were little changed at $12.68 an ounce, and copper was holding steady at $2.10 a pound.

Gold futures pulled back overnight after a positive earnings announcement from Goldman Sachs ( GS) turned investors to equities. In trading Tuesday, however, more investors switched gears and sought out the safe-haven investment of gold after March retail sales fell 1.1%. The worse-than-expected number renewed fears that the economy could see more downside.

"Gold is taking its cue from the ... news. You are seeing it trade in a technical range from $880 to $900," says Carlos Sanchez, associate director of research for CPM Group. "This range ... may hold for a day or two until we get earnings results from various industries to sway prices. One thing that may influence prices is the Fed's beige book."

Sanchez is expecting investors to look for clues on the general state of the economy when the Federal Reserve releases its report on Wednesday. A strong positive or negative slant on the economy's health could "push prices more forcefully."

In gold stocks, Newmont Mining ( NEM) was rising 1% to $42.22. Yamana Gold ( AUY) was flat at $8.20. Barrick Gold ( ABX) was up 1.9% to $28.95.

Agnico-Eagle Mines ( AEM) was gaining 1.3% to $49.52, and the Gold Shares ( GLD) exchange traded fund was little changed at $87.26.

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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.