Gold, Silver Prices Fall on Commodities Call

NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- Gold and silver prices fell Tuesday as fickle trading money rushed for the exit.

Gold for June delivery lost $14.50 to settle at $1,453.60 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price has traded as high as $1,468.50 and as low as $1,445 while the spot gold price was shedding more than $11, according to Kitco's gold index.

Silver prices tanked 54 cents to $40.06 an ounce. Silver had been holding up in early trading despite the fact that Bloomberg reported Monday a $1 million bet by an options trader that the iShares Silver Trust ( SLV) would fall 37% by July. Currently 22.6 million shares are sold short. The bearish bet wasn't echoed in the futures market.

According to Anthony Neglia, president of Tower Trading, the metals were getting bullied by Goldman Sachs ( GS). The investment firm issued a note Monday urging clients to take profits in commodities as the broad rally might not last as high oil prices eat into demand. All commodities were taking a hit Tuesday, oil prices were down almost $4, especially after mixed earnings from Alcoa ( AA).

The heavy selling also triggered sell stops where traders are forced to dump positions to lock in gains. The reverse, buy orders, were pivotal in gold prices reaching record levels last week, but now the hot money is shaking out.

"Open interest is still good in gold and silver," says George Gero, senior vice president at RBC Capital Markets. "Previous selling resulted in bargain hunting by gold and silver owners over the longer term as fundamentals have not improved in the Mideast or Euro Zone."

"Silver is the stronger of the two metals with investors seeking the investment demand and also the fundamental industrial demand for the silver market," says Phil Streible, senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock. Streible thinks that the gold/silver ratio will rise, which was around 34 on recent highs. A higher ratio would mean that gold prices would catch up to silver's rally or silver prices will cool a bit.

Streible thinks $42 is the short term top for silver and that gold could fall to $1,450 an ounce. Long term, however, $45 for silver and $1,500 for gold are still in the cards.

"If you see things start to deteriorate in the Middle East again," says Streible, "or if you see the shorts start to really scramble ... if earnings start coming in fuzzy ... gold and silver could continue to rally as a safety play."

Scott Redler, chief strategic officer for T3Live.com, who shorted the SLV Monday, is looking to add to his silver short Tuesday, and recommends that long term investors wait for the recent volatility to shake out before getting more heavily invested.

The U.S dollar index was retreating 0.30% to $74.84, but it wasn't enough to bring gold and silver buyers into the market. However, both metals ended up from their session lows.

The International Monetary Fund also released growth and inflation forecasts for 2011, which are a mixed bag for gold and silver. The IMF's global growth forecast was lowered to 4.4% with the EU predicted to grow the least, at 1.6% in 2011. The downgrade was due to high oil prices and even higher budget deficits. Slower growth would tighten demand for commodities which could hurt gold's recent rally.

On the flip side, the IMF said that the EU's inflation rate for 2011 will be 2.3% and the U.S. will hit 2.2%, both only slightly above the 2% target which signals central banks might not have to raise rates. Cheap money is good for gold and the hard asset becomes a more attractive investment.

Case and point, the EU said today that eurozone central banks bought €1 million in gold and gold receivables last week.

The U.K.'s 2011 inflation target, according to the IMF, will hit 4.2%, higher than the current March rate of 4%, which could point to rate hikes, although the Bank of England has been resisting that move.

Gold mining stocks, a risky but potentially profitable way to buy gold, were sinking. Yamana Gold ( AUY) was losing 2.25% to $12.60 while Harmony Gold ( HMY) was down 1.59% to $14.84.

Other gold stocks, Gold Fields ( GFI) and New Gold ( NGD) were trading at $18.03 and $10.53, respectively.

Silver Wheaton ( SLW) will be a stock to watch Tuesday as CEO Peter Barnes announced that he would step down and would be replaced by president, Randy Smallwood. Shares were sinking 3.51% to $42.56.


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-- Written by Alix Steel in New York.

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