Debarati Roy and Nicholas Larkin
February 25, 2014

Gold futures climbed to the highest in almost 17 weeks on speculation that a sputtering U.S. economy will boost demand for the metal as an alternative investment.

U.S. consumer confidence fell more than forecast in February from January, an index from the New York-based Conference Board showed today. Home prices rose at a slower pace in the 12 months that ended in December, according to a separate report. Russia’s deputy finance minister said Ukraine faces a “high” chance of defaulting on its sovereign debt. Gold has gained 12 percent this year.

“People are concerned about U.S. economic growth, and that’s why many people have turned bullish” on the metal as a haven, Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at Archer Financial Services in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Gold is also finding some support from the ongoing political turmoil” in Ukraine, he said.

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