Gold futures jumped to a three-month high on speculation that the U.S. will extend a stimulus to bolster the economy, while automatic purchases by computer programs may have contributed to the rally.
The Federal Reserve may extend a program known as Operation Twist, or the exchange of $400 billion in short-term debt for longer-term Treasuries, beyond June 30, the Financial Times said. Computer orders triggered more purchases starting around 1 p.m. New York time, said Phil Streible, a senior commodity broker at R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago.
Gold futures for April delivery jumped 0.7 percent to close at $1,771.30 an ounce at 2 p.m. on the Comex in New York. After the settlement, the price reached $1,783.40, the highest for the most-active contract since Nov. 16.
Silver futures for May delivery fell 0.5 percent to $34.328 an ounce.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery gained 2.1 percent to $1,720.80 an ounce. Palladium futures for March delivery climbed 1 percent to $717.75 an ounce.
Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS
Copper fell for the seventh time in eight sessions after reports signaled slowing manufacturing in Europe and China, the world’s biggest user.
Copper futures for May delivery declined 0.1 percent to $3.8425 a pound on the Comex. Yesterday, the metal gained 3.5 percent, the most since Nov. 30, after Greece won a second bailout.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid 0.2 percent to $8,435 a metric ton.
Aluminum, zinc, and lead advanced in London. Tin and nickel retreated.
Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS
Oil extended a nine-month high as International Atomic Energy Agency officials were denied access to an Iranian military base.
Crude oil for April delivery gained 3 cents to settle at $106.28 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Front- month prices have gained 14 percent in the past year.
Brent oil for April settlement climbed $1.24, or 1 percent, to settle at $122.90 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Crude oil futures: NI CRMKTS
Arabica-coffee futures fell the most in a week as stockpiles climbed and producers sought to increase sales in Brazil, the world’s top grower. Cocoa advanced, while sugar dropped.
On ICE, arabica-coffee futures for May delivery declined 2 percent to $2.0185 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.
Cocoa futures for May delivery climbed 0.6 percent to $2,438 a metric ton on ICE. The price has jumped 16 percent this year.
Raw-sugar futures for May delivery rose 1 percent to 24.71 cents a pound in New York.
In London futures trading, robusta coffee dropped, while refined sugar and cocoa advanced on NYSE Liffe.
Cotton for May delivery dropped 2.6 percent to 90.53 cents a pound on ICE.
Orange-juice futures for May delivery fell 0.9 percent to $1.788 a pound.
Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS
Natural gas futures declined for a second day in New York on forecasts for normal or above-normal temperatures that would limit demand for the heating fuel.
Natural gas for March delivery rose 0.7 percent to $2.643 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures have declined 12 percent this year.
Americas natural gas: NI AGASMARKET
Corn and soybeans rose on increased demand from livestock producers and exporters as farmers withheld supplies for higher prices.
Corn futures for May delivery rose 1.2 percent to $6.4125 a bushel on the CBOT after dropping 1.8 percent yesterday, the most since Jan. 13.
Soybean futures for May delivery gained 0.1 percent to $12.7875 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Wheat futures for May delivery rose 1.4 percent to $6.4575 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Grain markets: NI GRMKTS
Gasoline rose to the highest level since July after Iran denied nuclear inspectors access to a military base, adding to concern that global oil supply will be disrupted.
March-delivery gasoline rose 1.75 cents, or 0.6 percent, to settle at $3.0877 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The settlement was the highest price since July 29. Gasoline has gained 15 percent in 2012.
Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.9 cent to a five-month high of $3.579 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA data.
Heating oil for March delivery gained 3.31 cents, or 1 percent, to $3.2724 a gallon on the exchange, the highest settlement since April 8.
Gasoline: NI GASOLINE
Heating oil: NI HEATOIL
Hog futures climbed to the highest level in almost 12 weeks on speculation that U.S. consumers will buy pork as an alternative to costlier beef. Cattle futures extended a rally to a record.
Hog futures for April settlement rose 0.6 percent to 90.325 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price reached 90.975 cents, the highest for a most-active contract since Dec. 1.
Cattle futures for April delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to $1.3115 a pound in Chicago. Earlier, the price reached $1.315, the highest for a most-active contract since the commodity started trading on the CME in 1964.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement dropped 0.1 percent to $1.58425 a pound. The commodity rose to a record $1.5905 on Feb. 17.
Livestock markets: NI LVMKTS
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