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Copper futures jump on hiring, housing rebounds

December 4, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — Copper prices closed higher Wednesday after several hopeful signs for the U.S. economy.

In other metals trading, gold and silver also rose.

Copper for March delivery jumped 8 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $3.25 a pound.

Investors bought copper after reports that hiring at U.S. companies surged last month and sales of new homes jumped 25 percent in October.

Copper, which is widely used in homebuilding and construction, tends to rise on signs that the housing market and the broader economy are improving.

February gold rose $26.40, or 2.2 percent, to $1,247.20 an ounce, as the U.S. dollar weakened against other currencies. Silver for March delivery jumped 76.5 cents, or 4 percent, to $19.83 an ounce.

Platinum for January delivery rose $20.20, or 1.5 percent, to $1,376 an ounce. Palladium for March delivery rose $14.45, or 2 percent, $729.25 an ounce.

Crude oil for January delivery rose $1.16 to $97.20 a barrel in New York, its fourth straight gain, after the government reported the first drop in crude oil supplies in 11 weeks.

Other energy futures mostly fell.

Heating oil fell 1 cent to $3.06 a gallon, wholesale gasoline was flat at $2.72 a gallon and natural gas lost 2 cents to $3.96 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In agricultural commodities trading, March wheat fell 6.5 cents, or 1 percent, to $6.6175 a bushel.

March corn rose 5.25 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $4.365 a bushel, and January soybeans edged up 9.75 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $13.295 a bushel.