The price of lumber rose 3.2 percent Wednesday as residents of the Northeast evaluated the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy.
Lumber for January delivery increased $10 to end at $331.20 per 1,000 board feet on expectations that demand will pick up because of the need to repair or rebuild houses and other structures. The process could take months.
"There may be some emotion in (the) futures market resulting from damage from Hurricane Sandy, emphasis on emotional," said Jon Anderson, president of Random Lengths, which tracks cash prices, other market data and issues in the lumber industry. "Any immediate effect on actual consumption is minimal."
Cash prices in the lumber market have increased as the housing market has shown signs of recovery, he said. There has been some tightness in supply. That's typical for this time of year in part because construction slows during the winter.
In other trading, platinum and palladium prices posted gains after General Motors said it sold about 70,000 more vehicles worldwide in the third quarter than it did a year ago. The two metals are used in automobile catalytic converters.
Platinum for January delivery gained $23.40 to finish at $1,577 per ounce and December palladium increased $13.65 to $609.80 per ounce.
Other commodities were mostly higher as floor trading reopened. Investors were limited to electronic trading of commodities during the past two days when the exchanges closed their floors because of the massive storm.
In December contracts, gold rose $7 to end at $1,719.10 per ounce, silver rose 50 cents to $32.316 per ounce and copper gained 1.15 cents to $3.5175 per pound.
Benchmark oil rose 56 cents to finish at $86.24 per barrel, heating oil fell 1.84 cents to $3.0682 per gallon, wholesale gasoline rose 3.3 cents to $2.7618 per gallon and natural gas gained 0.1 cent to $3.692 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In agricultural contracts, December wheat increased 7.75 cents to $8.645 per bushel, December corn gained 14 cents to $7.5575 per bushel and January soybeans ended up 12.25 cents at $15.4875 per bushel.