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Commodities End Mixed While Oil, Gold Futures Trend Higher Along With Greenback

Commodities finished Thursday trading mixed while both gold and oil futures finished the day lower.

Gold for June delivery rose $0.70, or 0.06%, to $1,160.30 an ounce in the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold closed higher even as the dollar gained strength--an unusual move. Gold and currency futures generally move in opposite directions.

The dollar index ( DXY ), which measures the performance of the dollar against a basket of other major currencies, rose to 80.53 from 80.195 Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Crude oil for May delivery, the front-month contract, finished 33 cents lower, or 0.4%, to settle at $85.51.

Also affecting commodities were economic reports from the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Labor Department.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose by 24,000 in the latest week. U.S. industrial production rose 0.1% in March, lower than expectations as utilities output showed a sharp drop, the Federal Reserve reported.

In other metal futures, silver fell 0.03%, or $0.005, to $18.41 per troy ounce while copper futures were down 0.37%, or $1.35, to $359.7 a pound.

Other energy futures were mixed too, with heating oil rising 0.43%, or $0.01, to $2.25 a gallon.

Gold-based ETFs were mixed, with the SPDR Gold Trust ETF ( GLD ) up 0.47%, or $0.53, to $113.57 and the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ) down 0.69%, or $0.33, to $47.77. The iShares Silver Trust ( SLV ) was flat at $18.07.

Energy stocks were higher with oil futures.

Apache Corp. ( APA ) said Thursday it will buy Mariner Energy Inc. ( ME ) for $2.7 billion in an effort to extend its deepwater projects in the Gulf of Mexico.

The deal is Apache's second this week for oil and gas assets in the Gulf of Mexico. On Monday, Apache agreed to pay $1.05 billion for Devon Energy Corp.'s Gulf assets. Mariner's deepwater portfolio includes nearly 100 blocks, seven discoveries in development and more than 50 prospects, reports the Associated Press.

Apache shares were down $0.90, or 0.83%, to $107.16. Mariner shares were up $7.65, or 42.32%, to $25.74

Shares of oil and gas exploration firm InterOil ( IOC ) were up $2.18, or 2.96%, at $75.90 after the company announced it had formally signed an agreement with Japan's Mitsui & Co. Ltd. to develop InterOil's dig in Papua New Guinea, Barrons reported.

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

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