Gold Prices Dip Ahead of Economic Data Glut (Update 1)

Updated from 11:19 a.m. EST with settlement prices

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices settled slightly lower Monday as investors awaited a slew of economic reports later in the week.

Gold for December delivery lost $1.80 to close at $1,749.60 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,752.30 and as low as $1,746 an ounce, while the spot price was shedding $3, according to Kitco's gold index.

Phil Streible, a senior commodities broker at RJO Futures, said that gold prices have hit a bull-bear line that could make a critical break one way or the other in the next 48 hours. He also said the price of the yellow metal may remain unchanged until Tuesday, when durable goods orders and consumer confidence reports are issued.

Silver prices for December delivery were off 2 cents to settle at $34.14 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was adding 0.05% to $80.26.

Gold prices jumped more than $20 on Friday, which Streible also said could have accounted for Monday's slight selloff.

Eurozone finance ministers were set to approve a deal that would send some €44 billion in bailout funds to Greece as part of a package to ease that country's debt burden, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Ministers said the final agreement largely depended on the International Monetary Fund's approval that the steps being taken would bring Greece's debt load to a sustainable level -- calculated as 120% of gross domestic product -- by 2020, according to the Journal.

Gold investors have long anticipated emergency loans to Greece from eurozone countries as the stimulus would suggest inflationary policy that would make the precious metal a safe-haven purchase.

A reading Tuesday that shows improvement in the consumer confidence index could knock down gold prices. Positive readings in consumer confidence, durable goods and the manufacturing index (the Richmond Federal Reserve manufacturing index comes out Tuesday) would mean growing strength in the U.S. economy -- a sign that investors may not have to flee to safe-havens for protection.

A report on new-homes sales is expected Wednesday; overall readings in the housing industry have shown meaningful improvement in the past few months. Though Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week that the housing industry had shown some clear signs of improvement, he continued to warn that the pace would remain moderate by "historical standards."

Another big indicator for gold could be Thursday's GDP report. The prior report came in at 2% growth, but a consensus among economists has called for 2.8% growth.

Gold mining stocks were mostly lower Monday. Shares of Randgold Resources ( GOLD) were off 2.5%, while shares of Royal Gold ( RGLD) were losing 1.9%.

Among volume leaders, Barrick Gold ( ABX) was down 1.8%, and Kinross Gold ( KGC) was shedding 0.05%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD) was dipping 0.10%, and iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) was down 0.11%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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