Traders cautiously returned to buying certain key commodities Friday, including gold and oil, after big sell-offs earlier this week.
Gold for June delivery rose $3.10 to $1,395.60 per ounce. The precious metal has had a wild few weeks. It started sliding last week, in a panic that culminated Monday when it plunged 9 percent. It was gold’s biggest drop since 1983.
At the beginning of the week, investors disagreed on the reason for the plunge. By the end of the week, there was still no consensus. Some said it was because gold investors think the economy is improving, so they have less reason to hold gold as a safe-haven investment. Others said investors were actually quite worried about the economy, concerned that cash-strapped Cyprus might have to sell its gold reserves. Others said the plunge was simply short-term traders cashing in profits.
Peter Hug, global trading director at Kitco Metals, wrote in a research note Friday that the day’s buying indicated there was still “substantial fear” in the markets.
“The ‘better’ picture that is being painted is not a simple landscape but rather a Picasso, open to interpretation,” Hug wrote.
May silver fell more than 1 percent on Friday, down 28.5 cents to $22.96 per ounce. July copper fell almost 2 percent, down 5.6 cents to $3.163 per pound. July platinum slipped $5.10 to $1,423.90 per ounce.
June palladium was up more than 1 percent, or 7.25 cents, to $677.05 per ounce.
Among energy contracts, benchmark crude for May delivery rose 28 cents to $88.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gasoline was up 2 cents to $2.77 per gallon. Heating oil added 1 cent to end at $2.79 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1 cent to $4.41 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Key agricultural contracts were mixed. Wheat rose 4.75 cents to $7.115 per bushel. Corn rose more than 1 percent, up 7.5 cents to $6.52 per bushel. Soybeans fell 7.5 cents to $13.825 per bushel.