Copper, Silver Rise On Confidence About Growth

Published January 17, 2012 10:00PM (EST)

Copper and silver prices closed higher Tuesday on confidence that the U.S. economy will continue growing.

Copper is used as a raw material to make everything from housing materials to televisions. Copper often jumps when traders think global demand is rising. Silver is also used as a raw material to make consumer goods like electronic devices.

Optimism about the economy also sent stocks higher Tuesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average up nearly 1 percent in late afternoon trading when commodities trading ended.

Traders were encouraged by news that debt auctions by Spain and Greece drew solid interest from investors. That eased worries that Europe's debt woes would slow global growth. Commodities had fallen last week on worries that the financial crisis in Europe would escalate over the weekend. Late Friday, the ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit score of nine of the 17 countries that use the euro.

Spain, one of the countries downgraded, successfully auctioned off $6.21 billion in short-term debt at sharply reduced interest rates Tuesday, an indication that investor's weren't scared off by the downgrade.

Silver for March delivery rose 61.3 cents to $30.135 an ounce and March copper gained 9.25 cents to $3.7295 per pound.

Gold for February delivery gained $24.80 to end at $1,655.60 an ounce. In March palladium rose $20.45 to $655.50 per ounce. April platinum closed up $39.90 at $1,528.70 an ounce.

Benchmark oil rose $2.01 to $100.71 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Heating oil increased a penny to $3.0372 per gallon, gasoline futures rose 3.71 cents to $2.7713 per gallon and natural gas fell 18.5 cents to $2.528 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In March agriculture contracts, crops were higher.

Wheat rose 2.5 cents to end at $6.0475 per bushel, corn gained 4.5 cents to $6.04 per bushel and soybeans closed up 25.25 cents to $11.835 per bushel.

By Salon Staff

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