Updated from 12:13 p.m. ET with settlement prices
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices settled below $1,600 an ounce on Tuesday for the first time since March 15 after durable goods orders came in better than expected and a slew of other economic indicators suggested continued growth in the U.S. economy.
Gold for April delivery shed $8.80 to settle at $1,595.70 an ounce at the COMEX division of the CME. The
"Durable goods data that we had today was quite a bit stronger than forecast, so again it points towards a pick-up in overall macroeconomic activity, and gold obviously suffering as a consequence," said James Moore, an analyst at FastMarkets.com in London.Silver prices for May delivery lost 14 cents to $28.68 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was slightly higher by 0.01% to $82.90. The Census Bureau reported on Tuesday that durable goods orders rose 5.7% in February, better than a consensus among economists who had expected a 3.8% rise. Excluding transportation, orders lost 0.5% in February against a prior-revised 2.9% gain in January. Economists had expected ex-transportation orders to tick higher by 0.7%. The uptick in new orders placed with domestic manufacturers suggested a continued slow recovery in the manufacturing sector. Housing data emerged Tuesday, along with a consumer confidence read, all of which suggested a steady climb in the U.S. economy. The S&P Case-Shiller home price index printed a year-over-year increase of 8.1% in January to make it the strongest read on the indicator since the beginning of the downturn of the housing sector in mid-2006. New home sales in February declined to 411,000 against January, but rose 12.3% against the same time last year. The Conference Board said Tuesday its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 59.7 in March, down from 69 in February, but this dip may not have been a complete surprise. "I don't think it's all that surprising; the magnitude of the drop was a little bit surprising, but with payroll tax increases really starting to take effect and for consumers to realize what it means to their paycheck,