Metals prices slid Friday on renewed fears that the European debt crisis could slow global economic growth.
Italy became the latest country to see its costs for borrowing money skyrocket, entering the territory of nations that have required massive bailouts from the European Union. Italy must pay an average yield of 7.814 percent in two-year bonds, nearly double what the country had to pay only a month ago.
The revelation comes on the heels of a disastrous bond offering from Germany, which saw little demand for investment in the continent's strongest economy. The inability to raise cash inexpensively could drastically hurt sales of industrial metals that are closely tied to economic growth. Metals like copper and palladium are used as raw materials to make everything from automobiles to home computers.
Friday's trading session in metals was shortened following the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the U.S.
Platinum for January delivery dropped $25.20, or 1.62 percent, to settle at $1,533.10 an ounce. December palladium fell $19.75, or 3.4 percent, to close at $570.10 an ounce. Copper for December delivery fell 0.9 cent to close at $3.27 per pound.
Precious metals were also down. Gold for December delivery fell $10.20 to settle at $1,685.70 per ounce. December silver lost 87 cents, or 2.73 percent, to close at $31.014 an ounce.
Crop prices rose Friday. Corn for March delivery fell 5.50 cents, or nearly 1 percent, to settle at $5.90 per bushel. January soybeans fell 16 cents to close at $11.0650 a bushel. March wheat fell 5.25 cents, or less than 1 percent, to finish at $5.89 per bushel.
In energy trading, benchmark crude oil rose 60 cents to end at $96.77 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Heating oil fell 3.09 cents to finish at $2.94 per gallon. Gasoline futures lost 4.45 cents to close at $2.5205 per gallon and natural gas gained 5.7 cents to close at $3.665 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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