Commodities prices mostly fall, gold sharply lower

AP News
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Posted: Dec 21, 2009 4:01 PM

Commodities prices mostly fell Monday, with gold prices tumbling following a recovery in the dollar and as money moved into stocks and other assets.

Gold for February delivery fell $15.50 to settle at $1,096.00 an ounce. It was the first time gold settled below $1,100 an ounce since Nov. 6.

A strengthening dollar typically hurts the price of commodities because it makes them more expensive for foreign buyers. The ICE Futures U.S. dollar index rose 0.3 percent in late afternoon trading, after falling earlier in the day.

Tom Pawlicki, a commodities analyst with MF Global Research in Chicago, said traders focused on stocks at the expense of gold because there were no reports released Monday tied closely to commodities.

Major stock indexes rose about 1 percent following a wave of fresh corporate dealmaking, and as a historic health care bill moved closer to passing in the Senate.

Volume was light Monday as traders paused for the holidays. Pawlicki said volume is expected to remain low for the next two weeks through New Year's.

Most other metals also fell. March silver declined 28.5 cents to $17.035 an ounce, while January platinum dropped $5.80 to $1,423.50 an ounce. March copper futures rose 2 cents to $3.1585 a pound.

Oil prices were little changed ahead of a meeting of the world's biggest oil producers. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, is expected to announce they'll keep production targets where they are because demand remains weak for gasoline and other fuels.

Benchmark crude for January delivery fell 89 cents to settle at $72.47 per barrel on the final day of trading. The February contract gave up 70 cents to settle at $73.72 a barrel.

In other Nymex trading, heating oil fell 1.15 cents to $1.9452 a gallon, while gasoline fell 2.57 cents to $1.8691 a gallon.

Natural gas fell 11.3 cents to $5.669 per 1,000 cubic feet.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, March wheat futures fell 8.5 cents to $5.195 a bushel, while March corn inched up 2.25 cents to $4 a bushel.

March soybeans dropped 11.5 cents to $10.085 a bushel.