Metal prices fall as European worries weigh

AP News
Posted: Sep 06, 2011 5:37 PM
Metal prices fall as European worries weigh

Industrial metal prices closed lower Tuesday as a sagging stock market causes worries that global demand and factory production could weaken.

Copper for December delivery fell 6.85 cents, or 1.7 percent, to settle at $4.056 a pound.

October platinum fell $26.60, or 1.4 percent, to $1,858.20 an ounce. December palladium fell $33.65, or 4.3 percent, to $749.55 per ounce.

Metals prices fell in tandem with global stock prices. The value of industrial metals often tracks investors' confidence about future economic growth. The metals are used as raw materials in many kinds of manufactured goods, from iPads to automobiles.

Stocks were battered Tuesday by more worries that the European debt crisis would continue to roil financial markets and curtail consumer demand. The Dow Jones industrial average fell sharply in morning trading, but later made up more than two-thirds of its loss. The Dow closed down 101 points, or 0.9 percent, at 11,139.

Other metals also fell. Gold dropped $3.60, or 0.2 percent, to end at $1,873.30 an ounce. September silver fell $1.201, or 2.8 percent, to finish at $41.868 an ounce.

Silver is traded as both a precious and an industrial material. Its drop seemed to reflect investors' belief that factory orders will stay tepid until U.S. and European economies can start growing again.

Oil prices fell on worries that lower global demand could weaken energy consumption. Benchmark crude fell 43 cents to end at $86.02 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Heating oil gained 1.28 cents to $3.0102 per gallon, gasoline futures fell 1.7 cents to $2.8226 a gallon and natural gas rose 6.6 cents to $3.938 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Wheat, corn and soybeans all ended lower. December wheat fell 15.5 cents to $7.60 per bushel, December corn lost 4.25 cents to $7.5575 per bushel and November soybeans lost 23.25 cents to $14.225 per bushel.