Commodities End Friday Trading Lower As Both Gold, Oil Decline


Commodities ended lower with both crude oil and gold futures taking a hit on a strengthening dollar.

Gold for April delivery finished down $19.90, or 1.8%, at $1,107.60 an ounce at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude oil for April delivery finished down $1.52 at $80.68 a barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Meanwhile, the dollar index ( DXY ) was up 0.61%, or $0.49 to $80.71. A stronger dollar generally weighs on commodity prices.

The dollar's rise comes as the euro has fallen on concerns about Greece's ability to pay its debts and, more recently, doubts about which entity could come to Greece's rescue.

Also hurting oil this week was a drop in total U.S. fuel demand, which fell the most since November in the week ended March 12, the Energy Department said this week. Consumption decreased by 4.2% to 18.8 million barrels a day, 7.8% below the five-year average for the second week in March.

In energy stocks, Royal Dutch Shell Plc ( RDSA ) and Nexen Inc. ( NXY ) made a "significant" oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, Bloomberg reported. The discovery is in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico at Appomattox, located in Mississippi Canyon blocks 391 and 392.

Recent operations at Appomattox have resulted in an oil discovery with excellent reservoir quality, following the drilling of an exploratory well and two appraisal sidetracks.

Nexen shares are up 2.33%, or $0.55, to $24.11.

Chevron ( CVX ) said Friday that its 279,000-barrel per day refinery in El Segundo, Calif. is operating normally after issues earlier this week with the instrument air system were resolved quickly, Reuters reported, citing a spokesman.

Chevron shares were lower in mid-day trading, falling 0.88%, or $0.66, to $74.10.

Also Friday, Reuters reported that Russia's Energy Ministry saw no reason for the government to buy shares in No.2 oil firm LUKOIL if ConocoPhillips ( COP ) decided to reduce its stake.

ConocoPhillips shares were down 1.4%, or $0.74, to $51.97.

In other energy futures, natural gas rose $2.01, or 0.82%, to $4.16 per million British thermal units. Heating oil for April delivery fell $4.50 to $207.40 a gallon.

In other precious metals silver futures declined 2.48% to $16.99 while copper declined 0.65%, to $337.35.

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

Copyright (C) 2014 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: COP , CVX , DXY , NXY , RDSA

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