Metals Futures Mixed; Oil Rises on Storm Threat

NEW YORK (AP) -

Gold and silver prices edged lower Friday, and crude oil rose, as rig operators in the Gulf of Mexico braced for a storm.

Agricultural futures ended mixed.

Traders were keeping a close eye on the partial shutdown of the U.S. government, which entered a fourth day Friday. Investors are concerned that a prolonged shutdown could hurt demand for energy.

Gold for December delivery edged down $7.70 to $1,309.90 an ounce. December silver fell 3.4 cents to $21.752 an ounce.

Copper, palladium and platinum futures rose.

December copper rose 3.25 cents to $3.301 a pound, January platinum rose $14.70 to $1,388 an ounce and December palladium rose $1.75 to $701.95 an ounce.

December wheat fell 2.25 cents to $6.87 a bushel, and November soybeans rose 6.75 cents to $12.95 a bushel. December corn rose 4 cents to $4.4325 a bushel.

The price of crude rose to near $104 a barrel Friday, as offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico braced for Tropical Storm Karen. Investors were also keeping a close watch on developments in Washington, D.C., as the partial shutdown of the U.S. government entered a fourth day.

Benchmark oil for November delivery rose 53 cents to close at $103.84 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, oil rose 97 cents, snapping a three-week losing streak that knocked $7.66, or 7 percent, off the price of a barrel.

Several oil companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico, including Exxon, said they were taking precautionary measures, including the evacuation of non-essential personnel from offshore installations in the path of the tropical storm that could turn into a weak hurricane over the weekend.

Drivers are already seeing relief at the pump. The nationwide average price for a gallon of gas is now $3.37, down 22 cents from a month ago and 41 cents cheaper than at this time last year.

Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, gained 46 cents to $109.46 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

  • Wholesale gasoline fell 3 cents to $2.61 per gallon.
  • Natural gas rose 1 cent to $3.51 per 1,000 cubic feet.