Commodities Mostly Lower on Fears of a European Financial Crisis Stoked by Debt Downgrades


Commodities were broadly lower as the European debt situation stoked fears of a larger crisis. Oil futures finished lower as gold futures rose.

Crude-oil for June delivery lost $1.76, or 2.1%, to $82.44 a barrel. Heating oil futures were down 0.30%, or $0.06, to $2.23 a gallon while natural gas futures were down 1.13%, or $0.05, to $4.21 per million British thermal units.

Meanwhile, gold futures were higher as debt downgrades for Portugal and Greece sent investors looking for safety. Gold for June delivery rose $8.20, or 0.7%, to $1,162.20 an ounce on Comex.

In other metals, silver for May delivery settled 22 cents, or 1.2%, lower at $18.12 an ounce. Platinum for July delivery retreated $24.10, or 1.4%, to $1,720.90 an ounce. Palladium for June delivery lost $17.45, or 3.1%, to $548.95 an ounce.

Precious metal ETFs, save for gold ETFs, were broadly lower. The SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD ) was up $1.13, or 1.00%, to $113.88 while the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ) was down 0.54%, or $0.26, to $47.87. The iShares Silver Trust ETF ( SLV ) was down $0.15, or 0.84%, to $17.78.

In energy shares, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS-A) was slightly higher, up $0.10, or 0.16%, in afternoon trading ahead of the company's first-quarter earnings report, due before the bell on Wednesday

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect Shell to report a net profit of $3.99 billion. Shell reported net profit of $3.49 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

Shares of Transocean ( RIG ) and BP plc ( BP ) shares were lower Tuesday as reports that an oil slick originating from a broken drilling structure on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico was growing and coastal communities were bracing for its

impact. Transocean was drilling the well for BP.

Transocean shares were down 3.88%, or $3.41, to $84.59 while BP shares were

down 2.24%, or $1.30, to $56.61.

Meanwhile, BP said first-quarter profits rose to $6.08 billion from $2.56 billion during the same period of 2009

PetroChina Ltd. ( PTR ) said Tuesday that its first-quarter profit increased 71.2% from a year earlier on demand within China.

Profit for the three months ending March 31 was 32.5 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) or 0.18 yuan (3 cents) per share. That compares to 18.9 billion yuan, or 0.10 yuan per share, a year earlier. PetroChina shares were down $3.63, or 4.27%, to $113.50.

In other commodities, soybean futures declined the most this month on bets that China's efforts to curb inflation will slow economic growth, Bloomber reported.

Soybean futures for July delivery fell $0.10, or 1%, to $9.99 a bushel at 10:24 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, according to Bloomberg data.

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: BP , GDX , GLD , PTR , RIG , SLV

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