CHICAGO, Feb. 28 -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange settled back under 1,600 dollars an ounce on strong U.S. housing data.
The most active gold contract for April delivery fell 19.8 dollars, or 1.23 percent, to settle at 1,595.7 dollars per ounce.
As buyers rushed to make a tax-credit deadline, the U.S. pending home sales rose 4.5 percent in January, the highest level since April 2010; and pending-home-sales index increased to 105.9 in January from 101.3 in December, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday.
Strong home-sales data boosted stocks, which appealed to investors over gold.
Despite the drop, gold found numerous supportive factors Wednesday: EU and its sovereign debt problems following the election gridlock in Italy weighed on investors.
After Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke's testimony to the Senate led to gold's rise Tuesday, his similar testimony to the House Wednesday further consolidated the support to gold
Furthermore, it is very likely that the U.S. government may fail to agree on a taxing and spending plan by March 1 deadline.
Silver for May delivery dropped 33.5 cents, or 1.14 percent, to close at 28.985 dollars per ounce. Platinum for April delivery lost 16.4 dollars, or 1.01 percent, to close at 1,600.1 dollars per ounce.