The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for March gained a point, moving from February's 16 to 17. The reading, now at its highest since the housing tax credit expired, was expected to stay the same. Although above expectations, it's way below the 50 reading that indicates good conditions. It hadn't been above 50 since April, 2006.
Although it might be coincidence, gold rose modestly after the data were released. The 8:30 releases, which included a below-expectations rise in the Empire State Index, coincided with a turnaround that added close to ten dollars to gold's price. Bad news still has a good effect: the awful equity market's open at 9:30 tied in with another recovery rally that took the metal from $1,388 to $1,396. As of the time of this post, gold's hovering just below $1,400.