- Gold prices edged lower on Monday as investors bet the Federal Reserve will conclude a monetary policy meeting on Wednesday by announcing further cuts to its USD75 billion monthly bond-buying stimulus program.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery traded at USD1,263.20 a troy ounce during U.S. trading, down 0.10%, up from a session low of USD1,257.20 and off a high of 1,279.20.

The April contract settled up 0.16% at USD1,264.50 on Friday.

Futures were likely to find support at USD1,231.30 a troy ounce, Thursday''s low, and resistance at USD1,279.20, the earlier high.

The Federal Reserve will conclude a monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, and investors held firm on expectations that monetary authorities will make fresh cuts to its USD75 billion in monthly bond purchases due to several months of improving economic indicators.

Stimulus tools such as Fed purchases of Treasury holdings and mortgage debt suppress interest rates to spur recovery, thus weakening the dollar as long as they remain in effect and making gold an attractive hedge.

Soft U.S. housing data cushioned gold''s losses by reminding investors that the Federal Reserve will taper bond purchases very gradually.

The Census Bureau reported earlier that sales of new, single-family houses in December came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000, missing market calls for a 475,000 reading and also below November''s revised figure of 445,000, which softened the dollar slightly.

The figure was still well above the December 2012 reading of 396,000, and the data also revealed that inventories remain lean and prices continue rising, which muted the report''s impacts on both gold and the dollar. which tend to trade inversely with one another.

Harsh winter weather may have affected sales in December as well.

Meanwhile, silver for March delivery was up 0.33% and trading at USD19.830 a troy ounce, while copper futures for March delivery were down 0.33% and trading at USD3.261 a pound.

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