Commodities End Lower As Dollar Gains Strength On Positive Economic Data

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Commodities finished lower Thursday as both gold and crude oil futures sank while the dollar gained after favorable economic data.

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 Northeastern storms.

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 ( GSX ) 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 ( WNR ) 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 ( CNQ ) 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.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities
Referenced Symbols: CNQ , GSX , WNR

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