NEW YORK (TheStreet) --  Barrick Gold (ABX)  stock closed down by 0.80% to $6.21 on Tuesday, as gold prices fell as strong U.S. economic data weighed on demand for the safe haven metal.

U.S. home prices increased by 4.7% in the 12 months ended in July, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, while private research group The Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence rose to 103 in September from 101.3 in August, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Indications of a strengthening U.S. economy are increasing the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates this year, which would weigh on assets such as gold that don't pay interest, according to The Journal. 

Investor interest in the "safe haven" asset is also declining as the future of the U.S. economy seems less risky. 

Gold for December delivery is down 0.41% to $1,127.10 on the COMEX this afternoon.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates BARRICK GOLD CORP as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate BARRICK GOLD CORP (ABX) a SELL. This is driven by multiple weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.26 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Metals & Mining industry and the overall market, BARRICK GOLD CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • ABX's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 57.21%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, ABX has significantly outperformed against the industry average of 45.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 9.2%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • 41.46% is the gross profit margin for BARRICK GOLD CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of ABX's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ABX