Investing.com - Gold prices retreated in U.S. trading on Friday as investors sold the yellow metal for profits after weak consumer sentiment data hit the wire earlier, catching markets off guard.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery were down 0.14% at USD1,688.35 a troy ounce in U.S. trading, up from a session low of USD1,685.35 and down from a high of USD1,695.05 a troy ounce.
Gold futures were likely to test support USD1,666.55 a troy ounce, Thursday's low, and resistance at USD1,696.25, Thursday's high.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary index of U.S. consumer sentiment fell to 71.3 in January — its lowest level since December 2011 —from 72.9 in December, disappointing expectations for an improvement to 75.0.
The numbers sent investors snapping up safe-haven dollar positions, which sent gold falling as the two assets tend to trade inversely from one another.
Solid housing and employment data released in the U.S. earlier this week sent the metal gaining, and the surprisingly soft consumer sentiment figures brought in profit takers on Friday.
Solid Chinese growth figures gave the precious metal support, however.
China's gross domestic product rose 7.9% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, compared with expectations for a 7.8% rise, after a 7.4% increase in the previous quarter.
Meanwhile on the Comex, silver for March delivery was up 0.31% and trading at USD31.908 a troy ounce, while copper for March delivery was up 0.35% and trading at USD3.675 a pound.