"With the news out yesterday that they expect the U.S. may drop the tariffs on China, we saw a continuation of the move up in equities, and as a result, safe havens such as gold are weaker," said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.
A Wall Street Journal report on Thursday suggested U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin mulled a tariff rollback during trade discussions with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, scheduled for Jan 30.
Despite a quick denial by the Treasury, global stocks cruised to their highest in more than a month, while Wall Street got an additional boost from upbeat monthly manufacturing data.
"Gold did not break through the $1,300 resistance and since there is no catalyst to get us through there, some profit taking has come on as well," said Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.
The dollar was headed for its first weekly gain in five, unfettered by New York Federal Reserve President John Williams' stance that the longest government shutdown was taxing the U.S. economy.
"People also hoped that the dollar index would sell off here but it hasn't, and that's another indication why we should take our profits. It has been a good rally," Pehowich added.
Elsewhere, autocatalyst metal palladium slipped 1.5 percent to $1,375 per ounce after hitting an all-time high of $1,434.50 on Thursday. The metal remained on track for its fourth straight weekly gain.
"Palladium went up too far and too fast. A lot of good news that had come out between negotiations and domestic car sales in China has dried up and caused a correction," Pehowich said.
The metal, used mainly in emissions-reducing catalysts for vehicles, is up more than 60 percent since a low marked in mid-August, having overtaken gold for the first time in 16 years early in December.
However, analysts remain bullish about the metal which has seen profuse demand for quite some time.
Holdings in palladium exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tracked by Reuters have nearly halved from January last year as people took delivery and sold or gave the metal for lease due to insufficient supplies, analysts said.
In other metals, platinum fell 1.1 percent to $796.50 per ounce, while silver fell almost 1 percent to $15.37, having earlier slipped to its lowest since Jan. 2. (Reporting by Arijit Bose and Harshith Aranya in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio and Chizu Nomiyama)
© Reuters News 2019