The metal soared to a seven-year high on Friday, fueled by the continued spread of the virus around the world and prompting worries this will dent economic growth. Some observers also cited expectations for continuing soft in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Early this week, many participants in a range of markets took the "ostrich approach" – sticking their head in the sand and not worrying about the outbreak, said Charles Nedoss, senior market strategist with LaSalle Group. But as the week wound down, risk sentiment was dinged and gold took off.
"It seems like it is getting worse," Nedoss said. "It showed up in Korea and Japan. You're hearing more talk of it hitting the economy – obviously travel and tourism ."
A major technology company – Apple Inc . – this week issued a warning that sales will fall short of its forecast for the current quarter since the virus has weakened both production and demand in China.
April gold generated technical follow-through this week when the metal broke above the previous high for the year of $1,619.60 hit back on Jan. 8, when the worry was that the U.S. and Iran might go to war.
"We've got a trend going," said John Weyer, co-director of commercial hedging with Walsh Trading. "I don't see anything that's going to stop it."
Of course, a contrarian would say when expectations in any market are this one-sided, all of the potential near-term buying or selling may have already occurred, meaning the market could end up going the other way.
Fifteen market professionals took part in the Wall Street survey. Fourteen, or 93%, called for gold to rise. Only one voter, or 7%, called for prices to fall, while nobody was neutral.
Meanwhile, 1,121 votes were cast in an online Main Street poll. A total of 820 voters, or 73%, looked for gold to rise in the next week. Another 192, or 17%, said lower, while 109, or 10%, were neutral.