Gold bars and granules. File photo: Reuters

New York - Gold futures were poised to fall for the second time in three days as signs of a recovery in the US economy curbed demand for the precious metal as an alternative asset.

Sales of new homes increased 6.4 percent, the most since October, Commerce Department data showed.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of equities traded near a record today.

Through yesterday, gold fell 7 percent from a six-month high in March as the American economy rebounded from a winter slowdown.

“The housing data is another indication that the US economy is improving,” Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

“Also, the stock market continues to march ahead.”

Gold futures for August delivery fell 0.2 percent to $1,293 an ounce at 11:28 a.m. on the Comex in New York.

Prices slumped 28 percent last year on concern that the Federal Reserve would slow the pace of stimulus as the economy gained traction.

The Fed pared its monthly asset buying to $45 billion in April, its fourth straight $10 billion cut.

Bullion climbed 70 percent from December 2008 to June 2011 as the central bank bought debt and held borrowing costs near zero percent.


Barclays Fined


The UK Financial Conduct Authority fined Barclays 26 million pounds ($44 million) for gold-fixing failings, and banned former trader Daniel Plunkett from the industry.

Plunkett “exploited the weaknesses in Barclays’s systems and controls to seek to influence” the gold fixing on June 28, 2012, according to the statement.

His actions allowed Barclays to avoid making a $3.9 million payment to a client, though the bank later compensated the customer in full, the FCA said.

Silver futures for July delivery fell 0.4 percent to $19.445 an ounce on the Comex.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for June delivery rose 0.1 percent to $837.65 an ounce.

Yesterday, prices rose to $839.55, the highest since 2011, as strike at mining companies crippled production in South Africa, the second-biggest producer.

Russia, the top supplier, faced the threat of more sanctions from the US and Europe over its tensions with Ukraine.

Platinum futures for July delivery dropped 0.4 percent to $1,486.50 an ounce. - Bloomberg News