Profit-Taking Ends 3-Day Gold Rally
Undated (AP) _ Gold futures prices slipped Tuesday on New York’s Commodity Exchange amid profit taking, ending a three-day rally that peaked when the contract for April delivery failed to find support above $430 an ounce.
Silver futures also turned lower.
On other commodity markets, oil futures were mostly lower; orange juice futures rebounded; grains and soybeans were mixed; and livestock and meat futures were mostly lower.
Gold futures settled $1.10 to $1.50 lower with the contract for delivery in February at $421.30 a troy ounce; silver finished 2.3 cents to 2.4 cents lower with March at $5.33 a troy ounce.
Gold for February delivery had surged a total of $10 an ounce in the three previous sessions, mainly on supportive chart signals that defied the anti- inflationary rise in interest rates, a bearish fundamental factor.
Analysts also noted that gold’s strength had not been confirmed by similarly sharp increases in silver and platinum prices.
The gold rally passed a milestone Monday when the heavily traded contract for April delivery moved above $430 an ounce, but confidence in the market then waned.
Bernard Savaiko, senior metals analyst with the investment firm PaineWebber Inc., said gold historically has performed poorly in February, which might account for traders’ reluctance to keep betting on higher prices.
″If history serves as a guide, I would be on my guard here,″ he said.
But another analyst, Peter Cardillo of Josephthal & Co., said uncertainty surrounding stock prices and the political upheaval in Eastern Europe could keep investors interested in gold.
″The market’s looking at several things, so I don’t think you can just look at the traditional history″ such as the February effect, he said.
Petroleum futures turned in a mixed performance on the New York Mercantile Exchange ahead of the American Petroleum Institute’s weekly inventory report, which showed higher-than-expected supplies across the board.
The API reported a 7.7-million-barrel increase in U.S. stocks of crude oil, a 4.7-million-barrel rise in gasoline stocks and a 4.5-million-barrel increase in supplies of petroleum distillates, which include home heating oil.
Analysts said the report could prompt selling of futures across the board on Wednesday.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled 7 cents lower to 12 cents higher with March at $22.51 a barrel; heating oil was .15 cent lower to .24 cent higher with March at 56.19 cents a gallon; unleaded gasoline was 1.08 cents lower to 1.2 cents higher with March at 61.88 cents a gallon.
Orange juice futures rose sharply on the New York Cotton Exchange, reclaiming most of the ground lost Monday in a technically inspired sell-off.
Frozen concentrated orange juice settled 2.05 cents to 5 cents higher with May at $1.928 a pound.
Soybean futures rose modestly on the Chicago Board of Trade amid bullish technical signals and signs of stronger foreign demand. Corn futures also advanced while wheat futures retreated.
Wheat futures settled 3/4 cent to 3 cents lower with March at $3.82 3/4 a bushel; corn was 1 1/4 cents to 2 1/2 cents higher with March at $2.37 3/4 a bushel; oats were 1/4 cent to 1/2 cent higher with March at $1.35 1/2 a bushel; soybeans were unchanged to 4 1/2 cents higher with March at $5.62 3/4 a bushel.
Profit-taking kept most cattle futures under pressure on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange while pork futures retreated in line with weakening cash markets.
Live cattle futures settled .20 cent lower to .25 cent higher with February at 79.35 cents a pound; feeder cattle were .50 cent lower to .10 cent higher with March at 82.67 cents a pound; live hogs were unchanged to .40 cent lower with February at 48.82 cents a pound; frozen pork bellies were unchanged to .45 cent lower with February at 50.50 cents a pound.