Commodities prices closed mostly higher Monday following an uneventful, shortened trading session ahead of Christmas. Oil, gold and industrial metals rose slightly.
Investors now have just four trading sessions left this year, days typically reserved for the last-minute window dressing of portfolios. The commodities markets have been a treasure trove for investors who made early bets on rising prices this year, with double-digit gains in several corners. Oil is up about 54 percent so far in 2007. Gold has risen 27 percent. Wheat has surged 86 percent.
Gold edged higher Monday as the dollar fell against the euro. The greenback's steep decline against the 13-nation euro this year has been a major driver behind gold's advance from less than $650 an ounce in January to a 28-year high near $850 an ounce in November. Investors often use gold as haven from falling currency values.
An ounce of gold for February delivery added $1.10 to settle at $816.50 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. March silver futures rose 17.2 cents to close at $14.66 an ounce.
The euro bought $1.4403 late Monday, up from $1.4358 on Friday.
Industrial metals moved higher on the London Metal Exchange. Copper rose nearly 5 percent, while zinc gained more than 4 percent. Nickel prices jumped about 2 percent.
Nymex copper for March delivery rose 5.6 cents to $3.1535 a pound.
Energy prices ended mixed. Light, sweet crude for February delivery jumped 82 cents to settle at $94.13 a barrel, recovering from early losses to add to Friday's big gains. Oil prices rose more than $2 a barrel on Friday after the U.S. government reported a surge in consumer spending last month, which lifted hopes that consumers will help carry the economy through a credit and housing crisis.
January gasoline futures rose 0.45 cent to $2.384 a gallon, while January heating oil futures lost 1.44 cents to $2.5947 a gallon.
Agricultural futures also finished mixed.
March wheat fell 13.5 cents to $9.355 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. January soybeans rose 3.5 cents to $11.81 a bushel, and March corn rose 1 cent to $4.445 a bushel.
Trading hours were abbreviated Monday on the CBOT, Nymex and LME. The exchanges are closed Tuesday for Christmas.