CHICAGO, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose on Wednesday as U.S. equities weakened ahead of a key vote on healthcare in the U.S. congress.
The most active gold contract for April delivery rose 3.2 U.S. dollars, or 0.26 percent, to settle at 1,249.70 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 41 points, or 0.2 percent as of 18:00 GMT. Analysts note that when equities post losses, the precious metal usually goes up, as investors are looking for a safe haven.
Investors are carefully monitoring the progress of a healthcare bill proposed by the U.S. Republican party and supported by U.S. President Donald Trump, as they are concerned that if this bill fails to pass the lower chamber of congress, it will be a sign that President Trump's economic agenda of tax cuts and infrastructure spending will be much more difficult to achieve than expected.
Analysts believe that much of the market's gains since the inauguration of the new U.S. president is based on expectations for his economic policies. If these expectations are diminished, investors are likely to move to gold for its safe haven properties as the value of equities will likely be impacted.
Gold was given further support as the U.S. Dollar Index fell by 0.1 percent to 99.65 as of 1820 GMT. Gold and the dollar typically move in opposite directions, which means if the dollar goes down, gold futures will rise as gold, measured by the dollar, becomes cheaper for investors.
Additionally, a report released by the U.S. National Association of Realtors on Wednesday showed that existing home sales had decreased by 3.7 percent during the month of February. Analysts note that this was within the expectations range but worse than the consensus, which gave support to the precious metal.
Silver for May delivery dropped 0.5 cents, or 0.03 percent, to close at 17.578 dollars per ounce. Platinum for April delivery fell 9.5 dollars, or 0.98 percent, to close at 961.90 dollars per ounce. Enditem