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Gold, oil push higher ahead of Europe summit

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Gold futures ended slightly higher after a volatile session Wednesday, while oil pushed past $80 a barrel on positive US economic data.

Gold for August delivery advanced $3.50, or 0.2% to end at $1,578.40 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, supported by higher commodities across the board.

Crude oil futures ended 1.1% higher at $80.21 per barrel after a weekly US supply report showed a decline in inventories.

The Energy Information Administration reported a decline of 100,000 barrels in crude supplies for the week that ended June 22. Analysts polled by Platts had expected a decline of around 1 million barrels.

US data also lifted crude oil prices, as durable goods orders for May increased 1.1% to $217.2 billion, surpassing expectations. Analysts had expected half that.

Pending home sales in May also rose to their highest level in two years, climbing 5.9%, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

But the focus is likely to shift to Europe tomorrow as the two-day summit gets underway.

Though investors are not expecting a concrete resolution to the eurozone debt crisis, European leaders are under pressure to unveil some small progress as well as lay the ground work for future growth.

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