Positive economic indicators and strong corporate earnings released early in the day helped lift the U.S. equity markets on Tuesday.
On the commodities front, WTI cude oil (NYSEARCA:USO) closed down 0.5 percent at $92.63 per barrel, the lowest close this year to date. Brent was down about 1.6 percent at $112.64 per barrel.
Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, jumped $28.90 to settle at $1,615.50 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March gained 27 cents to close at $29.26. It was gold’s best one-day performance of the year.
Both precious metals received support as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered the Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress. The central bank signaled it will continue its massive bond-buying programs, as the benefits outweigh the risks. Bernanke also agreed with the stimulus actions being taken in Japan in order to fight deflation, and he does not see an equity bubble forming in the United States.
The yield on the 10-year T-bill increased 0.017 points to 1.882 percent.