Investors soured on industrial metals and other commodities Friday as signs of slowing global economic growth continued to mount.
Most prices fell after a new report concluded consumers are becoming more discouraged about the economy. The declines mirrored a broader pattern in stock trading.
Industrial metals have been pressured by a wave of disappointing news this week.
A twice-monthly survey released by the University of Michigan and Reuters concluded Americans are increasingly worried about the economic recovery. The consumer sentiment index compiled from the survey fell to 66.5 in early July from 76.
Other signs included slowing U.S. production of automobiles and home-building materials, a lower economic growth forecast from the Federal Reserve and declines in two key regional manufacturing indexes.
In addition, China, a big importer of copper, oil and other commodities, said its economy is slowing as a government stimulus program ends.
"We have definitely seen a turning point in ... leading indicators and the market consensus is economic activity is beginning to slow," CPM Group analyst Catherine Virga said.
"These concerns keep resurfacing in the market," she said. "It's something that is kind of shaking out longer-term investors."
In September contracts, copper fell 8.25 cents, or 2.7 percent, to settle at $2.9295 a pound; palladium fell $18.60, or 4 percent, to $448.60 an ounce and silver fell 57.4 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $17.788 an ounce.
October platinum lost $21.60 to settle at $1,512.10 an ounce while August gold lost $20.10 to settle at $1,188.20 an ounce.
Energy prices also fell. "Oil remains attached to equities for now and as a result, economic guidance should continue to rule," Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report.
Benchmark crude for September delivery fell 63 cents to settle at $76.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In August Nymex energy contracts, natural gas fell 6.7 cents to settle at $4.519 per 1,000 cubic feet; heating oil lost 0.7 cent to settle at $2.0113 a gallon and gasoline fell 1.21 cents to $2.0486 a gallon.
Wheat for September delivery lost 9 cents to settle at $5.8725 a bushel.
Two bright spots among the commodities were corn and soybeans. September corn rose 2.25 cents to settle at $3.9475 a bushel. August soybeans rose 0.5 cent to $10.195 a bushel.
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