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market tracker turns lower, as oil, gold futures pull back

Friday, February 1, 2008

(Corrects reference to all-time high for April gold futures)

NEW YORK (Thomson Financial) - Commodities prices were sharply lower Friday, highlighted by sharp declines in crude oil and gold futures, amid concerns over the impact on demand from a U.S. recession, especially after disappointing January jobs data.

The Reuters Jefferies CRB Index fell 0.6% to 367.35. The commodities futures market tracker had been up as much as 0.2% at a high of 370.27 earlier in the session. That high just missed the CRB's record high of 370.96 hit on Jan. 14.

March crude futures slumped $1.60 to $90.15 a barrel, paring earlier intraday gains to a high of $92.12 a barrel.

April gold futures dropped $16.30 to $911.70 an ounce, reversing earlier gains of as much as $13.80 to an intraday high of $941.80 an ounce, just shy of the all-time high of $942.20 an ounce hit on Wednesday.

Earlier Friday, the U.S. Labor Department said January nonfarm payrolls fell by 17,000, the first loss in more than 4 years, and missing the median estimate of economists surveyed by IFR Markets for a rise of 58,000.

Bond yields fell and the odds of further interest rate cuts increased, as the weak jobs data overshadowed stronger-than-anticipated data on the manufacturing sector.

In other commodities futures markets, the front month contracts for natural gas slid 3%, copper shed 0.7%, silver lost 0.7%, heating oil gave up 1.9% and reformulated gasoline dropped 2%.

Futures that witnessed gains included platinum, up 0.6%, palladium, up 4.2%.

Posted by MOHAMED SAID at 8:48 PM  


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