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