CNN Financial News Producer
Gold crossed $1,200 an ounce today and closed at a record high as the weakness of the U.S. dollar and the easing of fears surrounding the Dubai debt crisis pushed prices higher.
Gold futures touched an intraday high of $1,202.70 an ounce before backing off and settling up $18 to $1,119.10.
Gold prices had fallen about 5% on Friday on continued concerns about the state-run investment company of Dubai requesting a postponement of $60 billion in debt.
But on earlier today, reports said Dubai World was in talks over $26 billion of its debt, easing worries it would default on the total balance. That relief translated into a blow for the dollar, as increased risk appetite pushed the greenback lower.
A weaker dollar tends to boost gold, as it and other commodities are priced in dollars around the world.
The number of home sales contracts signed rose for the ninth straight month in October.
The National Association of Realtors says its index of pending home sales rose a seasonally adjusted 3.7% in October from September. The index is also up nearly 32% compared with last October.
Although these are not closed sales, and some deals can fall through, signed contracts are a good indicator of where the housing market is headed.
The NAR once again gave much of the credit for the increase in sales to the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit that was set to expire at the end of November. That credit has since been extended by Congress until the end of April and expanded to make other buyers eligible.
Bailed out insurance giant AIG says it has completed a deal wiping out $25 billion of its debt to U.S. taxpayers by selling stakes in two subsidiaries to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
AIG gave the New York Fed preferred shares of two of its international life insurance companies, including $16 billion of American International Assurance Co. and $9 billion of American Life Insurance Co. The deal was originally announced in March.
The deal brings the company’s debt to the New York Fed down to $17 billion. AIG also still owes the U.S. Treasury $44.8 billion from a separate TARP loan, so the insurer still owes taxpayers just under $62 billion.
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