Metals rise, but end week lower on Europe fears

AP News
Posted: Nov 18, 2011 3:20 PM
Metals rise, but end week lower on Europe fears

Metals prices rose Friday, but still had sharp losses for the week because of fears that the European financial crisis might hinder economic growth.

December palladium rose $1.45 to close at $605.15 an ounce. January platinum gained $7.60 to settle at $1,588.70 an ounce. Copper for December delivery rose 1.95 cents to $3.402 per pound.

Traders described the price increases as a "relief rally," which occurs when investors pick up cheap contracts after a big sell-off. Metals prices had fallen sharply Thursday on a report that the financial crisis in Europe could hurt U.S. banks and slow the economy. That could cut demand for industrial metals and slow inflation, which is a negative factor for precious metals.

Even after Friday's increase, palladium is down 9 percent for the week while platinum is down 3 percent. Copper is down nearly 2 percent. Those industrial metals become cheaper when traders think that demand will slow at factories that use metals in manufacturing products such as cars and television sets.

Gold for December delivery rose $4.90 Friday to settle at $1,725.10 per ounce. December silver rose 92 cents to close at $32.417 an ounce. For the week, gold lost 3 percent and silver fell nearly 7 percent. Precious metals fell because traders thought inflation would slow. Many traders buy gold and silver to protect their investment against a weakening dollar.

In other trading, crop prices were mixed.

Corn for December delivery fell 4.25 cents, or nearly 1 percent, to settle at $6.1025 per bushel. That leaves corn 4 percent lower for the week. December soybeans were unchanged at $11.6825 a bushel, leaving it virtually unchanged for the week. December wheat gained 5.75 cents, or nearly 1 percent, to finish at $5.9825 per bushel. Wheat is down 3 percent for the week.

In energy trading, benchmark crude oil lost $1.26, or 1 percent, to end at $97.67 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Heating oil lost 5.07 cents to finish at $3.0325 per gallon. Gasoline futures fell 2.87 cents, or 1 percent, to close at $2.4784 per gallon and natural gas lost 5 cents to close at $3.496 per 1,000 cubic feet.