Investing.com - Gold and silver prices remained modestly higher on Tuesday, as investors digested mixed U.S. economic data on consumer confidence and new home sales.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery held in a tight range between $1,306.20 a troy ounce and $1,317.90 an ounce.
Gold last traded at $1,314.40 an ounce during U.S. morning hours, up 0.25%, or $3.30.
Futures tumbled 1.86%, or $24.80, on Monday to settle at $1,311.20 an ounce. Prices were likely to find support at $1,300.00 a troy ounce, the low from February 14 and resistance at $1,335.70, the high from March 24.
Meanwhile, silver for May delivery picked up 0.35%, or 6.6 cents, to trade at $20.13 a troy ounce.
Silver slumped to $19.90 an ounce on Monday, the lowest since February 7, before coming off the lows to settle at $20.06 an ounce, down 1.2%, or 24.3 cents.
The Conference Board, a market research group said its index of consumer confidence increased to 82.3 this month from a reading of 78.3 in February, whose figure was revised up from a previously reported 78.1.
Analysts had expected the index to inch up to 78.6 in March.
A separate report from the U.S. Commerce Department said new home sales declined by 3.3% to a seasonally adjusted 440,000 units last month, compared to expectations for a decline to 445,000.
New home sales in January were revised down to 455,000 units from a previously reported 468,000 units.
Gold and silver have been under heavy selling pressure in recent sessions amid growing expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates sooner than expected.
Market watchers brought forward expectations for a rate increase by U.S. central bank after Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested last week that a rate hike might come about six months after the bank’s stimulus program ends, which is expected to happen in the fall.
The comments prompted investors to bring forward expectations for a rate hike to as soon as March of next year.
Elsewhere on the Comex, copper futures for May delivery rallied 1.8%, or 5.3 cents, to trade at $2.999 a pound, amid growing hopes that China will unveil fresh stimulus measures to boost slowing economic growth.
Data released on Monday showed that Chinese manufacturing activity deteriorated for a third successive month in March.
The industrial metal fell to $2.877 a pound on March 19, the lowest since July 2010, amid growing concerns over the health of China’s economy.
The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.