Commodities finished lower Thursday as both gold and crude oil
futures sank while the dollar gained after favorable economic
Gold for April delivery dropped $10.20 an ounce to $1,133.10.
Oil futures sank 0.77%, or $0.62 to close at $80.21 a barrel on the
April contract in trading today on the New York Mercantile
Exchange. Thursday marked the third consecutive day of the week
that oil closed above $80 a barrel.
Crude and oil prices fell as economic data released Thursday
showed retail sales were improving and first-time unemployment
claims had declined.
Also Thursday, natural-gas futures tumbled nearly 4% in
afternoon trading after the government reported that supplies were
higher than anticipated, especially in the wake of cold
The natural-gas futures contract for April delivery fell 17
cents, or 3.5%, to $4.590 per million British thermal units.
The federal Energy Information Administration, today, reported
natural gas in storage declined by 116 billion cubic feet last
week, less than the 128 to 132 billion cubic feet expected by
analysts surveyed by Platts.
Heating oil closed down 1.2%, or $2.51, to $206.86.
In other metals, silver for May delivery, the most active
contract, rose $0.17 to $17.15 an ounce. Copper for May delivery
ended down $6.90 a pound, or 2.01%, to$336.60.
In energy stocks, Gasco Energy (
) said late Wednesday it broke even in Q4 on a non-GAAP basis,
versus a loss a year ago. Sales were flat at $6.8 million. Gasco
shares were down 3.97%, or $0.01, to $0.36.
Western Refining (
) posted a loss for the fourth quarter that was less than Wall
Street's estimates. The company was buoyed by higher sales volume
and improvement in refining margins. Western Refining is unchanged
before the bell on the NYSE at $4.69. Western Refining shares were
up 4.48%, or $0.21, to $4.90.
Meanwhile, oil explorer Canadian Natural Resouces (
) reported fourth quarter profit tumbling 74% from a year ago due
to lower natural gas volumes. Canadian Natural Resources was up
0.20%, or $0.14, to $69.66.
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