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Own steel stocks, not gold: Gartman

'You should probably own steel stocks': Dennis Gartman

Avoid gold for the time being, commodities trader Dennis Gartman advised on Tuesday.

"It's acting rather, how shall we say? This is a very sophisticated economic term—'crappy.' It looks awful on the charts, and it's just not doing what it should be doing," he said.

Spot gold traded down to its lowest since July 10 at $1,251.66 and closed at $1,274, down 0.1 percent, according to Reuters. U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled $3.40 lower at $1,273.20 per ounce.

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On CNBC's "Fast Money," Gartman took issue with hedge fund manager Bill Fleckenstein's bullish call on gold as protection against money-printing.

(Read more: Hedge fund manager gears up to short stocks again)

"Gold looks weak," he said. "Thank goodness I've owned it in terms of yen. It saved me from losing 25 percent instead of only down about 7 percent. That's still an egregious loss."

Gartman noted that on Friday gold had plummeted through a key level of $1,280 and down to $1,250 before gaining again.

"But one has to expect that after a $30 bounce, it's probably going to go lower again," he added.

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Gartman was replacing his bets on gold with moves into copper and steel.

"I'm not allowed to talk about steel stocks," he said. "The SEC doesn't like it, but I can think about them, and I think that you should probably own steel stocks."

Gartman noted that steel stocks had run up recently.

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"I don't think I'd want to buy them here, but any correction, any movement lower, any 2 or 3 percent movement in big steel, you probably want to own it," he said. "I like metals. I like steel a whole lot more than I like gold."

U.S. Steel shares ended the day at $23.52, up 5.28 percent.

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StockMonster's Guy Adami noted that the stock had traded at roughly twice its normal volume.

"That is a big move for letter X," he said.

By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro. Follow him on Twitter @Bruno_J_Navarro. CNBC's Torrey Kleinman contributed research to this report.