A strong durable goods report and higher-than-expxected home prices helped lift the price of silver Thursday as stocks fell and the price of gold extended its losses for a third day.

Overall orders for durable goods rose 4 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Analysts were expecting about a rise about half that size. Another report showed home prices up 0.9 percent, higher than expected.

Silver for September delivery, the most actively traded contract for the white metal on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, rose to $39.83 from Wednesday's closing price of $39.16 per ounce, a 1.71 percent gain.

Because about half of the demand for silver comes from industrial demand, it benefits from both an upturn in economic activity and increases in investor demand for a safe haven.

Gold began falling Tuesday, partly from encouraging economic news that eased fears of a double-dip recession. That encouraging news, which included an unexpectedly strong report on durable goods orders, is lifting silver.

Another factor boosting silver is the sense that it has missed out on the recent gold rally and that now is the time for it to make a run at its nominal record of about $50 per ounce.