Gold and Silver Make a Late Day Surge

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On Wednesday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery jumped $12.80 to settle at $1,771.30 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures fell 18 cents to close at $34.25.

The U.S. dollar (NYSE:UUP) pared gains after data was released on existing home sales.  Sales of previously-owned homes increased in January to the highest level since May 2010, but prices continued their decline as the give-and-take housing recovery continued. Purchases were up 4.3 percent to a 4.57 million annual rate last month, from a revised 4.38 million pace in December that was slower than previously estimated, the National Association of Realtors reported today in Washington.

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Record affordability driven by low home prices and mortgage rates helped drive sales, pushing down inventories, but the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration remain concerned that mounting foreclosures will hinder the recovery. The two are striving to find ways to lend the industry additional assistance.

Even though the dollar reached a new seven-month high against the yen, many precious metal names headed higher going into the close.  The SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) increased 1 percent, while the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) edged .27 percent higher.  Gold miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) such as Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY) and Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) gained 2 percent.  Silver miners (NYSEARCA:SIL) such as First Majestic (NYSE:AG) and Endeavour Silver (NYSE:EXK) jumped 2.8 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

Shares of Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited (NYSE:AEM) popped 3.5 percent after receiving permission from the Nunavut Impact Review Board to build a $21 million roadway in northern Canada.  “The NIRB decision is a major milestone in the development of the Meliadine project as this will allow us to move to year-round operations,” the company said in a statement. “We hope to begin construction later in March.”

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To contact the reporter on this story: Eric McWhinnie at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

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