Exchange-traded funds tracking metals and mining were among the day's best performers. Gold was recently higher by $5.20 to $652.30 an ounce, and silver was tacking on 9 cents to $13.17 an ounce.
The iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was higher by 1.4% to $133.10. The streetTRACKS Gold Shares (GLD) ETF was rising 1% to $65.78. The iShares Comex Gold Trust (IAU) ETF was adding 0.9% to $65.82. The Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) ETF was gaining 0.5% to $40.04.
Bundled securities tracking the energy sector were also among the winners of the day. The front-month May crude contract was recently adding 47 cents to $62.75 a barrel.
The United States Oil (USO) ETF was adding 1.1% to $51.13. The iPath Goldman Sachs Crude Oil Index (XES) ETF rose 1% to $37.30. The PowerShares Dynamic Energy Exploration (PXE) ETF was climbing 0.5% to $20.38. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) ETF was recently up 0.5% to $60.52.On the flip side, ETFs tracking homebuilders were the worst performers following key economic data. Shortly after the opening bell, the government said new-home sales unexpectedly fell 3.9% in February to 848,000 annualized units from a revised 882,000 in January. Economists had expected sales to rise to 985,000 annualized units. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction (ITB) ETF was recently down 2.3% at $35.97. The SPDR Homebuilders (XHB) ETF was sliding 1.8% at $34.09. The B2B Internet HOLDRs (BHH) ETF was also lower as Ariba (ARBA) was slipping 1.4%. The ETF was off 3 cents, or 1.4%, to $2.13.