Oil, Copper Rise on Positive Signs on US Economy

NEW YORK (AP) -

Crude oil and copper prices rose Tuesday following the latest positive signs that the U.S. economy was improving.

Increases in orders for manufactured goods and new-home sales last month suggested that a pickup in the economy could cause demand for energy and basic building materials to rise.

Oil for February delivery rose 31 cents, or 0.3 percent, to close at $99.22 in a shortened session on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

U.S. financial markets will be closed Wednesday.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents, 1.2 percent, to $2.81 a gallon; heating oil rose 2 cents, 0.5 percent, to $3.07 a gallon; and natural gas fell 5 cents, 1.1 percent, to $4.469 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In metals trading, the actively traded March contract for copper rose 6.65 cents, or 2 percent, to $3.374 a pound.

February gold rose $6.30, or 0.5 percent, to $1,203.30 an ounce. March silver rose 7.1 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $19.48 an ounce. January platinum rose $9.10, or 0.7 percent, to $1,336.50 an ounce.

March palladium edged down 20 cents, less than 0.1 percent, to $695.45 an ounce.

Crop futures were mixed.

Corn for March delivery rose a quarter of a penny, or 0.1 percent, to $4.345 a bushel; March soybeans rose three cents, or 0.2 percent, to $13.2275 a bushel; and March wheat fell 3.25 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $6.0625 a bushel.