Gold fell hard Wednesday when some investors took profits from the yellow metal's recent runup in price and other investors abandoned the gold for stocks.

Equities rose sharply around the world with U.S. stocks in late afternoon trading up more than 2 percent on all three major indexes.

An assortment of developments lifted stocks. Germany's Constitutional Court rejected lawsuits aimed at blocking the country's participation in bailout packages for Greece and other eurozone countries. The court also handed the country's parliament a greater say over eurozone bailouts.

Today's ruling should bring some relief to financial markets as a total chaos scenario has been avoided but it should not lead to euphoria, ING economist Carsten Brzeski told Reuters.

Besides the German court action, stock markets were helped -- and gold hurt -- by better-than-expected data on the U.S. services sector on Tuesday and Australian growth as well as speculation that Washington may unveil a $300 billion package to create new jobs also helped improve the mood.

Gold tumbled $55.70 to close at $1,817.60, a decline of nearly 3 percent.

Silver settled 24 cents down at $41.63, a decline of just 0.5 percent.