Commodities Off In Tuesday Session, Hammered By Confidence Data

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Commodities finished the Tuesday session uniformly lower with both gold and crude oil futures declining in the face of a broad market tumble.

Gold futures finished the day off by $10, or 0.89%, to close at $1,103. Oil futures were off by $1.40, or 1.74%, to $78.91.

The dollar climbed higher, which kept gold lower, after the U.S. Conference Board said its index on consumer confidence dropped much more than expected this month.

The Conference Board said its widely watched index fell sharply to 46 in February from 56.5 last month. Economists had expected a reading of 55.

The index's decline suggests that consumers may pull back on spending, which could hamper the economic recovery. The index would need to reach 90 before it indicates the economy is healthy.

Low inflation "should have an adverse impact on the gold price, as gold loses its appeal as a hedging instrument against inflation risks," analysts at Commerzbank wrote in a note.

"We continue to expect the gold price to move sideways within the trading range of between $1,050 and $1,150 an ounce that has been in place since mid-December."

Silver futures finished the day lowerm off by 2.48%, or $0.40, to close at $15.94 a troy ounce. Copper futures fell 3%, or $10, to close at $322.85.

Platinum for April delivery declined 1.4% to $1,510.30 an ounce. Palladium for March delivery fell to $434 an ounce, down 1.8%. Meanwhile, oil prices faltered on consumer confidence news earlier Tuesday as energy stocks declined.

Petrohawk Energy Corp. ( HK ) shares fell 4% to $21.27. The company's fourth-quarter earnings of $0.12 a share missed the Wall Street estimate of $0.15 a share, despite higher production.

Denbury Resources ( DNR ) shares fell 3% to $13.90 after it said its fourth-quarter net income fell 92% to $3.5 million, or a penny a share, from $43.8 million, or 18 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

NRG Energy ( NRG ) is down after the company said it earned $0.11 per share, with items, in Q4 on sales of $2.1 billion. Less items, it lost $0.57 per share. Wall Street analysts expected earnings of $0.40 per share and revenue of $2 billion, according to a survey by FactSet Research.

Adjusted 2010 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization is seen at $2.2 billion. NRG's board of approved $180 million of share repurchases for 2010.

Heating oil futures were down 2.26%, or $4.7,to $203.18. Natural gas futures were down 2.41%, or $0.19, to $4.78.



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.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: DNR , HK , NRG

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