NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices remain under pressure Friday as technical selling and a lack of clarity regarding the Fed's stance on continuing its bond-buying operations weigh on market sentiment. Minutes from the central bank's FOMC January meeting were released Wednesday and indicated that some members were growing uncomfortable with the risks associated with ongoing asset purchases. That led to speculation that the Fed may end its bond-buying program sooner than anticipated. That, in turn, has pressured gold prices, because not only could this potentially reduce gold's appeal as an inflationary hedge, but the comments also spurred buying in the dollar, which continues to move higher. With ongoing tensions in the eurozone regarding upcoming elections in Italy, and the prospects of a correction in risk assets, the dollar has even more reasons to stay strong.
Should this be the case, the near-term implications for the yellow metal do not look any better. Gold often, but not always, moves inversely of the greenback. So what, specifically, does that mean for gold prices in the near term? Looking at gold futures for April delivery, we see support at the $1,523 area. Given some of the recent technical "breaks" we have seen in gold, it is logical to assume that a test of this support may be in store in the near future. Now, given the oversold condition in gold, a dead-cat bounce should come as no surprise. One must be ready for it. It is imperative, however, to keep the bigger picture in mind at all times. The fact is the intermediate-term trend is down. Physical gold, gold futures, and $GLD all potentially have more downside to go. This could present some fabulous opportunities to purchase physical gold while on sale. Regarding the bigger picture, one must also remember that the longer-term trend in gold is still up and one should position himself accordingly by looking for strategic places to buy that make sense. Please visit our Web site for updates on the gold market as well as useful information for purchasing the physical metal. We can also be followed on twitter at @appreciategold.