Gold prices hovered in a tight range Tuesday after Slovak lawmakers delayed voting on an expansion of Europe's bailout fund, a blow to efforts aimed at keeping a Greek default from taking down some of the continent's biggest banks.
Unleashing the $600.34 billion European Financial Stability Facility requires the approval of all 17 members of the Eurozone, of which Slovakia is the last. All other members have approved the expanded bailout fund.
Slovak lawmakers were planning to vote on expanding the fund Tuesday but delayed the vote after it became clear that the ruling coalition would not survive a defeat of the initiative.
At such a times as the EFSF is approved by all 17 members it will buy bonds from weak members, rescue members and help them prop up ailing banks.
Word of the delayed Slovak vote sent shares of Greece's four largest banks down 16 percent and hammered the euro while lifting the dollar and U.S. stocks.
Precious metals were barely moving in early afternoon trading. Gold hovered a modest $5.50 shy of Monday's closing price of $1,670.80 per ounce, while cash gold was $1,664.23.
Silver, however, added 23 cents to $32.21 per ounce. Platinum and palladium were slightly lower.