Metals rise on hopes of continued growth

AP News
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Posted: Nov 28, 2011 3:37 PM
Metals rise on hopes of continued growth

Metals prices closed higher Monday as early signs of a strong holiday retail season stoked hopes for economic growth.

Hopes that economic growth continued were boosted Monday after a record number of shoppers hit the mall or bought gifts online during the holiday weekend, according to early reports.

A strong shopping season could bolster a tepid U.S. economy. Stocks soared on the news, with the Dow Jones industrial average gaining about 230 points, or 2 percent, just after commodity trading ended.

The price of stocks and industrial metals often move in unison because both are a gauge of how much economic growth investors expect to see. Industrial metals like copper and palladium are used as raw materials in the world's factories, so more growth should increase demand for the metals.

Metals prices have stagnated this month on worries that growing debt problems in Europe could slow growth there and in the United States. But a strong launch to the holiday shopping season Friday seems to have dispelled those worries, at least temporarily.

"Europe seems like a million miles away when Mr. and Mrs. America hit the mall and the keyboard," Kitco Metals Inc. analyst Jon Nadler wrote in a note to clients Monday. "Let's call today `retail therapy.'"

Platinum for January delivery gained $6.40 to settle at $1,539.50 an ounce. December palladium rose $8.25, or 1.45 percent, to close at $578.35 an ounce. Copper for December delivery rose 9.05 cents to close at $3.3605 per pound.

Precious metals were also up.

Gold for December delivery gained $25.10, or 1.5 percent, to settle at $1,710.80 per ounce. December silver rose $1.147, or nearly 4 percent, to close at $32.161 an ounce.

Crop prices also rose. Corn for December delivery rose 8.5 cents to settle at $5.985 per bushel. December soybeans gained 14.5 cents to close at $11.21 a bushel. March wheat rose 4 cents to finish at $5.93 per bushel.

In energy trading, benchmark crude oil rose $1.44 to end at $98.21 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Heating oil rose 4.22 cents to finish at $2.9827 per gallon. Gasoline futures gained 6.35 cents to close at $2.5177 per gallon and natural gas lost 14 cents to close at $3.525 per 1,000 cubic feet.