Gold fell to a 2-1/2 low on Thursday, as a rally in equities and the dollar after broadly positive U.S. economic data dimmed its appeal as an alternative asset, while a weaker technical picture suggested possible further losses.
Selling accelerated after prices broke through chart support at $1,275 an ounce, sending spot gold to its lowest since Feb. 10 at $1,268.24 an ounce.
Silver dropped to a near-five month low of $18.91 an ounce, taking the gold:silver ratio to its highest since August.
"Stop losses were triggered between $1,277 and $1,275 and it feels it is still not over, there are some light stops in the $1,265 area but I wouldn't be surprised if we headed towards the $1,250 area," MKS SA head of trading Afshin Nabavi said.
"We are in a bit of a fragile state in gold ... at the moment investor interest remains subdued as ETFs outflows continue and speculative interest has dropped," Saxo Bank head of commodity strategy Ole Hansen said.
Gold dropped 1.1 percent to $1,269.25 an ounce by 1226 GMT, while U.S. gold futures fell by the same margin to $1,269.80 an ounce.
The dollar firmed against a basket of currencies after data showed orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rose more than expected in March and a measure of business capital spending plans surged, bolstering views of an acceleration in growth in the second quarter.
Global stocks were back on the front foot, as upbeat earnings from the tech sector helped shake off some of the jitters that have hit the sector in recent weeks.
Over the past few weeks, gold's main prop has been its role as an insurance against market risks raised by escalating tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States of being behind the political upheaval in Ukraine and said Moscow would respond if its interests came under attack.
However, it is U.S. economic health that will continue to be the main driver of gold prices in the near term, while a lack of physical buying was likely to trim gains, dealers said.
Investment demand remains weak with the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, seeing sharp outflows in recent days.
Last week, the fund's outflows totalled 9.3 tonnes, erasing all the gains made in the year. [GOL/ETF]
"It seems that $1,300 is not easy to break through for the time being. There's not much buying from China. People are just waiting for the price to fall," said a physical dealer in Hong Kong.
"Premiums for gold are mostly unchanged at $1, although there are also people who offer it at 80 cents premiums, depending on the brand."
Among other precious metals, silver was down 2 percent at $19.01 an ounce, while spot platinum fell 0.8 percent to $1,383.24 an ounce and spot palladium dropped 0.9 percent at $777 an ounce.