Metals, agriculture are mixed on up day for stocks

AP News
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Posted: Jun 14, 2012 4:34 PM
Metals, agriculture are mixed on up day for stocks

Commodities had a disjointed reaction to the stock market Thursday, with metals and agriculture mixed and oil prices rising.

Investors took a liking to industrial metals, but they kept gold flat and pushed down the price of silver. Palladium for September delivery jumped nearly 2 percent, or $11.60, to $634.90 per ounce. July platinum rose $20.80 to $1,487.60 per ounce. July copper rose 1.5 cents to $3.3545 per pound.

Major U.S. stock indexes rose, not because of good news about the economy but on hopes that the central bank will step in to rescue it. Speculation that the Federal Reserve will pump more money into the economy rose after the government reported that applications for unemployment benefits increased last week. A report in the afternoon that major central banks were preparing to prop up financial markets after Greece's elections Sunday also sent the market higher.

August gold was virtually flat, rising 20 cents to $1,619.60 per ounce. Silver fell nearly 2 percent, or 53.4 cents, to $28.407 per ounce.

Agricultural commodities were mixed. Wheat and corn rose, and soybeans fell. Wheat rose 7.5 cents to $6.235 per bushel. Corn rose 9 cents to $6.015 per bushel. Soybeans fell 22.25 cents to $13.86 per bushel.

Wheat prices have held up better this year than some other agricultural commodities, said David Krein, senior director of product development and analytics at Dow Jones Indexes. But he said that could be less about consumer preferences and more about a tight supply of wheat because of unfavorable weather.

Oil prices rose, also influenced by hopes of more government intervention in the U.S. and Europe. In Vienna, ministers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to keep in place their current production target.

Benchmark crude rose $1.29 to finish at $83.91 per barrel Thursday in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties, gained 45 cents to $97.17 per barrel in London.

Separately, natural gas prices jumped more than 14 per cent after the government said supplies increased less than expected last week. They were up 31 cents to finish at $2.495 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Heating oil rose 1.69 cents to end at $2.6278 per gallon and gasoline futures gained 2.1 cents to $2.6764 per gallon.

At the pump, the national average for gas fell less than a penny overnight to $3.532 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. The price is nearly 20 cents less than a month.