Commodities mixed a day after big gains; metals rise on growing expectations for recovery

By Stephen Bernard, AP
Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Commodities mixed, metals higher on recovery hopes

NEW YORK — Commodities were mixed Tuesday as investors grabbed profits from a surge the day before.

“Today seems like a consolidation phase,” said Carlos Sanchez, an analyst at CPM Group. Traders bid up prices on commodities Monday to kick off the new year as they realigned portfolios, he said.

Precious metals were the biggest gainers. Sanchez said metals with industrial uses, like silver, palladium and platinum, have risen in recent weeks because of mounting optimism for a global economic recovery. A rebound would push demand for the metals higher.

Upbeat manufacturing reports in the U.S., China and Europe on Monday boosted hope for growing industrial output.

Silver for March delivery rose 33.7 cents to $17.80 an ounce. Palladium for March delivery climbed 55 cents to settle at $421.95 an ounce, while platinum for January deliver rose $13.50 to $1,530.80 an ounce.

Gold rose 40 cents to settle at $1,118.70 an ounce after jumping more than $20 Monday.

Copper hovered near a record high, a day after workers at Chile’s largest copper mine went on strike. Chile’s state copper mining company, Codelco, is the world’s largest copper producer.

Copper for March delivery rose 0.75 cents to $3.4135 a pound. It hit a record high of $3.4290 during trading on Monday.

Meanwhile oil was trading in a narrow range a day after passing $80 a barrel for the first time in two months. Benchmark crude for February delivery rose 26 cents to settle at $81.77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Sanchez said oil, like metals, has received support in recent days because investors expect an economic recovery to push demand higher. Sanchez also said declining inventories in recent weeks have boosted prices. Colder weather in the northeast also triggered some buying.

In other Nymex trading in February contracts, heating oil rose less than a penny to $2.1941 a gallon. Natural gas fell 24.7 cents to $5.637 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Grains and most soft commodities were mixed Tuesday, a day after posting big gains.

March futures for wheat fell 4.75 cents to $5.53 a bushel. Corn for March delivery rose 0.25 cents to $4.1875 a bushel, while soybeans for March delivery rose 3 cents to $10.61 a bushel, and

Cotton and coffee fell, while pork bellies rose.

Orange juice climbed for a second day as parts of Florida face freezing temperatures overnight. Orange juice rose 9.95 cents to $1.385 per pound.

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