Copper Prices Rise For Third Day On Jobs Report

Published January 19, 2012 9:00PM (EST)

Copper prices rose for the third straight day Thursday on growing hopes that economic growth will boost demand.

Copper for March delivery continued a rally that started Tuesday, rising 4.8 cents to end at $3.8005 per pound. That leaves copper up nearly 5 percent for the week.

Copper prices often rise when traders think the U.S. economy is poised to grow. Copper is used as raw material in the construction industry. Factories also buy it make various kinds of consumer devices.

Investors gained confidence about the economy after the government said the number of people seeking unemployment benefits plunged last week to the lowest level since April 2008. In recent years the weak labor market has dragged down consumer spending, which accounts for a large part of U.S. economic activity. If spending increases because more consumers get jobs, it could boost demand for copper at factories and construction sites.

In other trading, precious metals prices fell. Silver for March delivery fell 3.4 cents to $30.509 an ounce. Gold for February delivery lost $5.40 to end at $1,654.50 an ounce.

Industrial metals were mixed.

March palladium rose $9.90 to $678.40 per ounce. April platinum closed down $7.30 at $1,518 an ounce.

In energy trading, benchmark crude oil fell 20 cents to $100.39 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Heating oil rose 2.26 cents to $3.036 per gallon, gasoline futures dropped 0.96 cents to $2.8158 per gallon and natural gas fell 15.3 cents to $2.363 per 1,000 cubic feet.

March agriculture contracts rose.

Wheat rose 13.5 cents to end at $6.0575 per bushel, corn gained 12.5 cents to $6.06 per bushel and soybeans closed up 13.5 cents at $11.97 per bushel.

By Salon Staff

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