Precious-metals futures prices advanced Tuesday, responding in part to economic news and reports of escalation in the Iran-Iraq war. Gold gained more than $3 an ounce on the Commodity Exchange in New York.
In some other markets, Treasury bonds were sharply lower, soybeans were a little higher, hog futures advanced but other livestock and meats were mostly lower.
"Metals prices firmed partly because they were coming up from a very oversold position," said Peter Cardillo, an analyst in New York with Josephthal & Co. "There was some bargain hunting going on."
In addition, he said, metals did better on the news that Iraq launched an air attack on Iran's Larak Island in the southern Persian Gulf, setting two oil tankers ablaze.
A sharply lower dollar, responding to a 6% decline in U.S. October durable goods orders, also helped support the metals, Cardillo said.
On the other hand, he said, the shakeup in the White House which saw the departure of two presidential aides had "absolutely no effect" on the metals or currency futures markets.