Gold Prices Slide Below $1,600 on Book Squaring (Update 1)

Updated from 12:57 p.m. ET with settlement prices

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices dipped on Thursday as fund managers squared away their books for the last trading day of the quarter.

Gold for April delivery at the COMEX division of the CME lost $11.50 to settle at $1,595.70 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,608.30 and as low as $1,594.30 an ounce, while the spot price was sliding $10.60, according to Kitco's gold index.

"You're seeing some technical action in the gold market -- some long liquidation, probably, some chart-related action, and that's put some downside pressure on the gold markets," Jim Wyckoff, senior metals strategist at Kitco.com, said in an interview. "A lot of fund managers tend to square their books -- window dressing on the last trading day of the quarter."

Silver prices for May delivery shed 29 cents to $28.32 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was down 0.31% to $82.92.

Though the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported the final revision on fourth-quarter 2012 GDP rose just 0.4%, which was weaker than economists' expectations, gold prices failed to move closer to the flatline. The Labor Department's initial jobless claims for the week ended March 23 also were soft -- a 16,000 increase to 357,000 -- but it failed to pare gold's losses.

Cyprus' banks reopened on Thursday as customers waited outside financial branches to access their accounts. Though reports suggested some early congestion, Cypriots didn't make a massive run on the banks.

Investors largely ignored gold on Thursday as a safe-haven play against uncertainties in Cyprus.

U.S. stocks may have added psychological pressure against gold on Thursday as the S&P 500 rose above its prior-record closing high of 1565.15. The index rose as high as 1568.30, and was holding above the old closing best.

Gold mining stocks were mostly lower on Thursday. Shares of NovaGold Resources ( NG) were plummeting 6.3%, while shares of Eldorado Gold ( EGO) were down 1.7%.

NovaGold Resources announced on Thursday it appointed Richard Williams as its vice president of engineering and development. Williams previously served as project director of Barrick Gold's ( ABX) Pueblo Viejo operation in the Dominican Republic, NovaGold said in a statement.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD) was sliding 0.69%, while iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) was off 0.64%.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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