Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange settled below 1,700 U.S. dollars an ounce, nearly flat for the day but down for the week, amid worries lingering over the fiscal cliff. The most active gold contract for February delivery advanced 20 cents, or 0.01 percent, to settle at 1,697 dollars per ounce. For the week, gold prices finished 0.5 percent lower, with the biggest decline seen on Thursday, when gold dropped 21.1 U.S. dollars, or 1.2 percent. Market analysts say gold finished down over the week as more quantitative easing moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve were not enough for the bulls to overtake the bears. The holiday season, as well as investors waiting to see whether the U.S. legislators will avert the fiscal cliff, or automatic spending cuts and tax hikes, were among the reasons for the lackluster trading in gold for the session, according to other analysts. Economic data released Friday showed a slightly bigger-than- expected drop for U.S. consumer prices, while industrial production rose 1.1 percent in November, the fastest pace in two years. Following the data, the ICE dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, edged lower to 79.552, from 79.925 in late North American trading on Thursday. Weakness in the U.S. dollar tends to support dollar- denominated commodity prices, such as gold. Silver for March delivery fell 5.6 cents, or 0.17 percent, to close at 32.299 dollars per ounce.