Precious metals marked gains Tuesday as the U.S. dollar weakened against other world currencies. An unexpected plunge in new construction of single-family homes and apartments was cited for helping gold, as well as limiting gains in crude-oil prices and a sluggish, mixed performance in U.S. stocks.
In New York trading futures for bullion:
Silver for July delivery surged 29.5 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $14.125 an ounce.
Gold for June gained $5.00, or 0.5 percent, to $926.70 an ounce.
- July platinum climbed $7.50, or 0.7 percent, to $1,145.10 an ounce.
"It is growing concerns about the weaker dollar in future, given the increasing likelihood of an inflationary period to come, that is really driving gold higher," Patrick Chidley, an analyst at Barnard Jacobs Mellet USA LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, was quoted on Bloomberg.
In spot bullion, the benchmark London gold fix price gained $3.75 to $924.75 an ounce. Silver rose 9 cents to $13.88 an ounce. Platinum was fixed $28.00 higher to $1,136.00.
Gold, considered a hedge during times of high inflation and economic uncertainty, tends to follow oil and move opposite to the U.S. dollar. A rising greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities, like bullion, more expensive for holders of other world currencies.
Oil and gasoline prices
Oil futures briefly touched $60 a barrel before retreating to mark a still positive day. New York crude-oil for June delivery rose 62 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $59.65 a barrel.
Prices at the pump increased another three-tenths of a cent, AAA said. The average price for unleaded gasoline on Tuesday came in at $2.314 a gallon, which is 6.6 cents higher than a week ago and 26 cents more than a month ago.
Stocks moved mostly sideways, and in a "tight range," according to a report by CNNMoney.com. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 29.23 points, or 0.34 percent, at 8,474.85. The S&P 500 Index dropped 1.58 points, or 0.17 percent, at 908.13. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 2.18 points, or 0.13 percent, at 1,734.54.
In other economic news, the Commerce Department on Tuesday reported new construction of single-family homes and apartments plunged 12.8 to an annual rate of 458,000 compared to 525,000 in March. The biggest contributor was a fall in construction of multi-family homes, declining 46.1 percent.