Gold prices fell nearly one percent and silver dropped three percent as precious metals followed stocks down in a generally gloomy outlook for U.S. and European economies.

Slovak lawmakers Friday gave the final go-ahead to expanding a European bailout fund, but that was expected had no effect on European stocks, which declined.

U.S. equities fell, with bank stocks - particularly J.P. Morgan Chase -- leading the way lower. Overall, third-quarter earnings have been less than inspirational.

The earnings so far haven't been blowing the doors off, like many of us had hoped, Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, told Dow Jones. And there are still big unresolved issues out in Europe.

U.S. economic data did little to prompt investors to venture into stocks. Initial jobless claims fell 1,000 to a slightly better-than-expected 404,000. But the numbers remain vastly removed from anything that would indicate a turnaround. And while the nation's overall trade deficit narrowed slightly, its deficit with China ballooned 7.4 percent.

Overseas, there was fresh evidence China is weakening: Customs data showed export growth falling last month more than expected, while import growth also slowed. That bodes ill for a global economy already wobbling under the chronic weight of Europe's sovereign debt crisis and anemic U.S. growth.

Copper and crude oil, proxies for the global economy, fell. Only dollars and Treasuries rose.

Meanwhile, BNP Paribas cut its gold price forecast to an average $1,950 a troy ounce in 2012, down from an earlier $2,080.

Gold for December delivery fell $14.10 to $1,668.50, while gold for immediate delivery fell $14.44 to $1,664.03

Silver for December delivery fell $1.12 to $31.67, while silver for immediate delivery fell 89 cents to $31.71.