GOLD PRICES bumped up to $1285 Tuesday lunchtime in London, reversing their overnight drop to fresh 3-week lows at $1277 as new data showed small business sentiment in the US falling hard in October.
Gold price charts analyzed by Commerzbank's technician Axel Rudolph, however, say that "a slip through the six-month support line at $1270.16 will confirm our bearish outlook," he writes today.
"We could potentially," says French bank Natixis' precious metals analyst Bernard Dahdah, "see gold prices reach levels of $850 to $1,000. But this is our very low-case scenario."
Gold prices that low could unleash a wave of forward selling by mining companies, says French investment bank BNP Paribas, reminiscent of the late 1990s when miners tried to lock in current prices for fear of further falls ahead.
"Producers, the share prices of which have not been faring well of late," BNP's commodity team notes, "might initiate and/or accelerate hedging
were we to approach the symbolic $1000 level, adding supply to the market and further downward pressure to prices."
Were gold prices to fall below that $1000 level, investment author and hedge-fund manager Jim Rogers told India's ET Now TV last week, "I hope I'm smart enough to buy a lot more."
Explaining why he's not buying gold
right now, "It went up 12 years in a row, which is highly unusual for any asset," says Rogers. "And of course, India's doing its best to kill the gold market."
Even with gold prices falling a further 3% in the wholesale bullion markets by Tuesday, "Little sign yet of a boost in physical demand," says one Asian dealing desk.
"Gold is clearly lacking bullish conviction," says another.
"With equities performing well," agrees Scotiabank's latest Metals Matters monthly, "and with the global economy looking more stable, investment demand for gold may well remain subdued.
"That could keep the lid on prices."
Confidence levels amongst UK private investors rose in October for the third month running
, says a survey from retail stockbrokers Hargreaves Lansdown, reaching a nine-year high with 8 in 10 respondents saying the stock market will rise again in 2014.
Market professionals have also "fallen into a state of relative complacency," says bond-fund giant Pimco's CEO Mohamed El-Erian, "comforted by the notion of a 'central-bank put'.
"The result is financial risk-taking that exceeds what would be warranted strictly by underlying fundamentals."
Contrasting with last week's strong GDP and new jobs figures, the National Federation of Independent Businesses said Tuesday that its optimism index
dropped 2.3 points to 91.6 last month, primarily due to the government shutdown.
Gold prices for UK investors had earlier turned higher from their 3rd dip below £800 per ounce as the British Pound sank on news of much weaker than expected consumer price inflation.
That confounds growing anticipation that the Bank of England could soon raise UK interest rates from their all-time 0.5% low.