Gold prices rose over the $1,800 mark Tuesday on expectations that the Federal Reserve will decide this week on further steps to stimulate the economy and fresh evidence that the economy needs some stimulation.

The National Association of Home Builders index came out for September unexpectedly weak, falling to 14 from 15.

David A. Rosenburg, chief economist and strategist with Gluskin Sheff + Associations Inc., observed that in this phase of an economic cycle, technically the 27th month of the recovery, the group's index should be 28.

It is now at 14, or half of what it averages during a period of outright economic contraction, he wrote in a note. Is there any doubt that this is a depression statistic?

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund cut its U.S. growth estimates for this year to 1.5 percent from 2.5 percent and its growth estimate for next year to 1.8 percent 2.7 percent. It all worked to boost expectations that the Fed will once again intervene.

Although not a done deal, we see a high probability that the Federal Open Market Committee will announce further easing steps at the conclusion of this week's meeting, Goldman Sachs said in a note, adding that it expects the Fed to lengthen the maturity of its balance sheet in an attempt to keep interest rates down.

Gold on the New York futures exchange rose $30.20 from $1,778.90 to $1,809.10, and gold for immediate delivery climbed $24.20 to $1,806.71.

Silver on the New York futures exchange added 97 cents from $39.16 to $40.14, and silver for immediate delivery was up 44 cents to $40.01.