Gold prices fell Friday as investors took profits, which in turn triggered computer selling, in an environment where the absence of clear fiscal or monetary policy on either side of the Atlantic made attempts at an outlook for the yellow metal unusually dicey.

There is no real direction provided by other markets, Macquarie analyst Hayden Atkins told Reuters. I guess this is a sign that people are interested in taking profits at these kinds of prices, in the absence of direction from anywhere else.

Neither Thursday's speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke nor the one later in the day by President Obama articulated coherent policy or gave much hint of what investors face this fall.

That created volatility around the world, with gold initially rising and then falling, along with stocks.

On New York's futures market the price of gold fell $16.10 to $1,841.10, while gold for immediate delivery slipped $17.02 to $1,845.41.

Investors seem to wait for dust to settle after most price setbacks and resume buying as bargain hunters await opportunities, George Gero, senior vice president at RBC Capital Markets, told The Street.

Gold prices also slipped on a stronger U.S. dollar, which began rising against the euro after Bernanke's speech.