Updated from 10:29 a.m. ET with analyst comments, BullionVault's Gold Investor Index and settlement prices

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices dropped on Tuesday as traders preferred profit-taking on their positions and moving into equities, which were breaching all-time highs.

Gold for June delivery at the COMEX division of the CME fell $19.20 to settle at $1,448.80 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,470 and as low as $1,440.40 an ounce, while the spot price was plummeting $19, according to Kitco's gold index.

"One might say that there's a risk-on mood at the moment," Daniel Briesemann, commodities analyst at Commerzbank AG, said in a phone call from Frankfurt. "It's a little bit strange, but it might be that we see some profit-taking after the move up of more than $100 after the low two or three weeks ago."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached an all-time high early Tuesday morning, and the S&P 500 followed the Dow's gains by posting a 0.48% climb of its own.

Silver prices for July delivery slipped 15 cents to close at $23.81 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was sinking 0.06% to $82.29.

Helping to push the dollar lower was a stronger-than-expected rise in German factory orders on Tuesday. Orders rose 2.2% in March from February. It matched February's 2.2% gain against January.

The stronger economic data from Germany could be lending some downside pressure to gold's paper markets as the yellow metals appeal as a hedge against economic uncertainties slightly diminished.

BullionVault, a company that offers online buying and selling of physical gold and silver, released on Tuesday its Gold Investor Index, which jumped to 58.6 in April from the prior month's 53.3 reading after the massive sell-off in paper markets spurred the strong physical demand. A reading of 50 signals a balance of buyers and sellers in the market. April's 9.9% pop marked a 16-month high for the index.

Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of BullionVault in New York, said the surge was driven by retail investor demand. Perez-Santalla said he doesn't think investors are purchasing the yellow metal as a hedge against inflation -- a traditional investment appeal of gold.

"I think they're worried about serious trouble in Europe ," Perez-Santalla said, referring to economic uncertainty that has threatened the continent in recent years.

Though physical demand remains high for gold, it likely won't be significant enough to move the price in paper markets, said Scott Carter, CEO of Lear Capital.

Carter said he sees gold hovering near its current level of $1,450, and that $1,500 an ounce will provide difficult technical resistance for the precious metal to overcome in the near term.

Gold mining stocks were mostly lower on Tuesday. Shares of Gold Fields ( GFI) were receding 4.7%, and shares of NovaGold Resources ( AEM) were decreasing 3.3%.

Among volume leaders, Barrick Gold ( ABX) was off 3.1%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD) was losing 1.1% to $140.53, while iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) was off 1.1% at $14.13 a share.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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