Other metals tracked gold, with silver sliding the most at 3.2 percent. Platinum lost 1.2 percent while palladium dipped 1.8 percent.
Weaker-than-expected U.S. consumer confidence data was cited for pulling down crude prices and deflating U.S. stocks. Oil fell 1.9 percent while the major indexes ended mixed, ranging between -0.40 percent and 0.15 percent.
New York precious metals prices follow:
Gold for August delivery fell 2.1 percent to $1,158.00 an ounce — its lowest point since April 26. It ranged from $1156.90 to $1186.50.
Silver for September delivery lost 57.4 cents to finish at $17.626 an ounce. It ranged between $17.580 and $18.235.
October platinum declined $19.10 to $1,536.70 an ounce. It ranged from $1,534.10 to $1,565.90.
September palladium retreated $8.45 to finish at $466.55 an ounce. It ranged between $465.90 and $481.50.
In notable bullion quotes of the day:
"With the disappearance of technical support for the gold market, it appears likely that traders may move to the sidelines and liquidate, rather than hold on to lingering expectations of the need for safe haven," Tom Pawlicki, an analyst at MF Global Holdings Ltd. in Chicago was quoted on Bloomberg.
"We’re just not seeing any interest coming into gold. The flight-to-safety pattern … is just not there," Bill O’Neill, a principal at Logic Advisors in New Jersey, was noted on MarketWatch. "At the least at the moment the atmosphere is not conducive for gold."
"On the other hand, physical buyers (read: India) have finally had something to smile about following bullion’s dip to under the $1190s over recent sessions. Indication is that they might actually break into full grins if perhaps they are presented with prices nearer to the mid-1100s anytime soon," Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco Metals, Inc., said earlier Tuesday. [Read Nadler’s full morning commentary.]
In PM London bullion, the benchmark gold price was fixed earlier in the North American day to $1,168.00 an ounce, falling $15.50 from the price on Monday. Silver added 15 cents to $18.160 an ounce. Platinum settled at $1,560.00 an ounce, rising $14.00. Palladium advanced $1.00 to $478.00 an ounce.
Oil and gasoline prices
Crude oil prices fell "as stocks wavered between gains and losses and selling momentum took over after the day’s two major pieces of macroeconomic news disappointed investors," wrote Claudia Assis and Kate Gibson of MarketWatch.
"At the first sign of economic weakness, oil is pulling back a little bit," Phil Flynn, vice president of research at PFGBest in Chicago was noted on Bloomberg. "There’s a glut of supply, we’re past the summer driving season and there’s not a lot of tropical activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Other than the hope the economy will explode, there aren’t a lot of reasons to be long."
New York crude oil for September delivery lost $1.48 to close at $77.50 a barrel.
The national average for regular unleaded gasoline was $2.742 a gallon — the same level as Monday, according to AAA fuel data. The price is 2.3 cents higher than a week ago, 1.3 cents lower than a month back, and 24.2 cents more than a year ago.
U.S. stocks were mixed, "losing steam after a three-session run, after a big drop in consumer confidence offset better-than-expected profit growth from DuPont, UBS and others," noted Alexandra Twin of CNNMoney.com.
"I still have a favorable view of the market, but I think the extreme move in the last few days warrants some consolidation or pullback," Nick Kalivas, senior equity index analyst at MF Global in Chicago, was quoted on Reuters.
The Dow Jones industrial rose 12.26 points, or 0.12 percent, to 10,537.69. The S&P 500 Index lost 1.17 points, or 0.10 percent, to 1,113.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 8.18 points, or 0.36 percent, to close at 2,288.25.