A stack of gold bars

The price of gold, thought to be poised to surpass $2,000 an ounce not so long ago, has fallen below $1,600 as the global economy improves (Frank Rumpenhorst / AFP/Getty Images / February 15, 2013)

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Gold still glitters, but a bit less brightly as it fell below $1,600 on Friday for the first time in six months.

In one of the contrarian ways of the financial markets, gold has weakened as evidence has mounted that the global economy is recovering.

That has given investors who flocked to the precious metal in recent years the courage to venture out into riskier assets, such as stocks.

Gold also has been dinged by a report that billionaire investor and longtime gold bull George Soros has lightened up on his holdings.

Gold appeared poised to pierce $2,000 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis but never made it amid improving economic signs.

Gold for April delivery fell to as low as $1,596.70 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was recently trading at $1,606.70.

ALSO:

Consumer sentiment bounces back in February

Icahn says Herbalife clash with Ackman isn't a 'get even'

Bowles, Simpson tell policymakers to get serious on debt reduction

Follow Walter Hamilton on Twitter @LATwalter

Gold glitters less brightly, falling below $1,600

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A stack of gold bars

The price of gold, thought to be poised to surpass $2,000 an ounce not so long ago, has fallen below $1,600 as the global economy improves (Frank Rumpenhorst / AFP Getty Images / February 15, 2013)

Gold still glitters, but a bit less brightly as it fell below $1,600 on Friday for the first time in six months.

In one of the contrarian ways of the financial markets, gold has weakened as evidence has mounted that the global economy is recovering.

That has given investors who flocked to the precious metal in recent years the courage to venture out into riskier assets, such as stocks.

Gold also has been dinged by a report that billionaire investor and longtime gold bull George Soros has lightened up on his holdings.

Gold appeared poised to pierce $2,000 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis but never made it amid improving economic signs.

Gold for April delivery fell to as low as $1,596.70 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

ALSO:

Consumer sentiment bounces back in February

Icahn says Herbalife clash with Ackman isn't a 'get even'

Bowles, Simpson tell policymakers to get serious on debt reduction

Follow Walter Hamilton on Twitter @LATwalter