While the regular U.S. stock indices ended the session just in positive territory, the commodities indices ended slightly lower, with the Standard & Poor’s GSCI guage of 24 commodities ending the session down 0.2%. Overall, commodity prices were mixed, with energy prices and stocks mostly higher, metals were mostly higher (with copper prices the main exception), and soft commodities closed the session mixed on the day the key USDA monthly inventory report was released.
Crude oil rose from an eight-month low; ending with a 62 cent gain for the day at $83.32 a barrel on speculations U.S. inventories have dropped. The official government report on oil inventories will be released tomorrow. Crude had a very volatile session, at one point it plunged to $81.07, its lowest intraday price since Oct 6th. Prices are down 16 percent this year.
Natural gas futures rose from a six-week low after the U.S. cut its 2012 production estimate by 1 percent. Natural gas for July delivery gained 1.4 cents to settle at $2.232 per million British thermal units on the Nymex.
Gasoline fell to $2.6502 a gallon, its lowest level of the year as Brent crude weakened. Brent crude is used to produce American gas; therefore brent and gasoline prices have a strong correlation.
Gold gained for the third straight session in on speculation that governments may issue further stimulus measures, which would boost demand for bullion as a hedge against inflation. Gold ended the session up 1.1 percent to settle at $1,613.80 an ounce on the Comex. Silver futures for July delivery jumped 1.2 percent to $28.949 an ounce in New York, its second straight advance.Copper futures for July delivery slipped 0.2 percent to settle at $3.3355 a pound on the Comex in New York, extending this year’s fall to 2.9 percent.
Wheat dropped 2.3%, its largest slide in over a week after the USDA announced that global stockpiles in the 12 months that end May 31 will be larger than analysts expected. At $6.16 a bushel, wheat is down 21% this year. Corn futures fell the most in two-weeks, after the USDA forecast global inventories will rise to their highest in 11-years. Corn ended down 1.4% at $5.84 a bushel. Soybean futures for November delivery advanced 0.4 percent to close at $13.37 a bushel on the CBOT after the USDA forecast a 20 percent plunge in domestic inventories
Arabica coffee for September delivery slid 0.9 percent to settle at $1.5535 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Raw-sugar futures for October delivery fell 0.8 percent to 19.98 cents a pound. Cotton futures for December delivery declined 0.6 percent to 68.84 cents a pound in New York. T
Resource stocks moving off of news in today’s session.
First Solar (NYSE:FSLR) closed up 21.25%, and is slightly down in after hours trading. According to Bloomberg the company has decided to delay the close of its German facility until the end of the year due to an unexpected surge in European demand. Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE: TAN) rallied 5%, due to the rally in component First Solar.
Agrium (NYSE:AGU) closed up 4.9%. Earlier today the company announced that it expects Q2 earnings will be near the top of its forecast range due to higher prices for some of its wholesale fertilizer products. AGU sees earnings from continuing operations at $4.18 to $4.78 a share, ex items, with analysts expecting the company to generate a $4.57 a share Q2 profit, according to Thomson Reuters.
JA Solar (NYSE:JASO) shares closed up 5.67% and are climbing in the after hours session. According to Seeking Alpha, citing the company’s CEO Peng Fang, JASO may move production out of China to evade U.S. anti-dumping tariffs.