Oil and gold prices climbed Thursday following the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, but the gains were modest given weak economic news in the United States.
Other commodities were mixed, with agricultural futures trading mostly lower.
Bhutto's assassination in a suicide bombing raised concerns about further regional instability, unsettling investors. Energy prices jumped on the news, while falling inventories of crude and heating oil also pushed prices higher.
"The critical driver right now for crude oil is the political unrest and the uncertainty as to how it will develop," said Max Pyziur, an energy analyst with CPM Group.
Light, sweet crude for February delivery added 65 cents to settle at $96.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after rising as high as $97.79.
January heating oil gained 3.91 cents to settle at $2.6803 a gallon, while January gasoline futures rose 4.36 cents to settle at $2.4962 a gallon on the Nymex.
The Energy Information Administration reported U.S. crude stockpiles declined for the sixth straight week. The 3.3 million barrel drop was more than double the draw analysts had expected, according to a Dow Jones Newswires poll. Inventories of distillates, including heating oil and diesel fuel, fell 2.8 million barrels versus an estimated decrease of 800,000 barrels.
Gasoline inventories rose by a smaller-than-expected 700,000 barrels. Analysts projected a rise of 1.4 million barrels. Supplies of gasoline remain in the lower half of the average range for this time of year, the EIA said.
The jump in oil prices helped boost the price of gold as investors shifted resources to the precious metal, often seen as a safe haven against inflation and political uncertainty.
An ounce of gold for February delivery added $2.30 to $831.80 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. March silver closed down 1.7 cents at $14.818 an ounce.
"Gold has had a good run. And with the suicide bombing in Pakistan, it's just one more thing that ... is pushing investors toward gold," said David Beahm, a precious metals analyst at Blanchard and Co.
The dollar's steep decline against the 13-nation euro this year also 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.
The 13-nation euro bought $1.4627 in late New York trading, up from $1.4500 Wednesday.
Oil and gold's rise was tempered by weaker than expected economic news. The Commerce Department said durable goods orders for big-ticket items _ from jets to computers _ rose just 0.1 percent last month, far short of analysts' expectations. Still, November saw the first rise in durable goods orders in the last four months.
Agriculture futures closed mixed. Wheat for March delivery fell 26.25 cents to $9.15 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. March corn rose 2.5 cents to $4.5475 bushel, while January soybeans fell 8.25 cents to $12.125 a bushel.
Industrial metals were mixed. Nickel, copper and zinc rose on the London Metal Exchange, while lead and tin prices fell.
Nymex copper for March delivery fell 3.80 cents to $3.1320 a pound.