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Commodities: Copper Stays Near Record; Oil Lower While Gold Again Surges

By: MT Newswires
Posted: 12/31/2010 7:49:00 AM
Referenced Stocks: BHI;NBL

Copper jumped to a new record in New York this morning on optimism the global economic recovery is gaining steam. March Copper hit $4.4220 a pound about 5:30 a.m. ET, an all-time top for a most-active contract, beating the old record by nearly $0.06, set only the prior day.

Crude oil prices fell 1.5% on Thursday to $89.84 per barrel, sliding back under $90 for the first time this week. Contributing to the drop was a smaller-than-expected draw of 1.26 million barrels from oil stockpiles during the week ended Dec. 24. Analysts, on average, had expected a 2.85 million barrel drawdown last week.

Oil still is falling this morning, down $0.44 to $89.40 a barrel.

Gold prices are again climbing today, reversing Thursday's year-end profit taking. At last look, the yellow metal is fetching $1,412.60, up $6.70 an ounce, after earlier touching $1,414 an ounce. Through Thursday settlement, gold was up 28.1% for the year. Silver is higher, back at a 30-year high of $30.68 an ounce, up $0.167.

In company news, the number of oil rigs in operation this week dropped by six to 765 from a record 771 last week, while the overall rig count fell by 20 to 1,694, according to industry consultants Baker Hughes Inc ( BHI ). The biggest change in rig count occurred in Canada, declining 65 to 246 rigs, while the number of rigs in use rose in New Mexico, North Dakota, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Noble Energy ( NBL ) on Thursday said it has found natural gas offshore of Israel's coast, encountering a minimum of 220 feet of net natural gas in several subsalt intervals. Noble owns a 40% stake in a shared project in the Leviathan field about 85 miles offshore from Haifa.