September 20th, 2011

Crude oil futures traded near the lowest price in three weeks in New York after Standard & Poor’s cut Italy’s credit rating, stoking concern that demand for fuel will falter as Europe’s debt crisis worsens.

Crude oil futures fell as much as 0.7 percent after sliding 2.6 percent yesterday. Italy’s credit rating was reduced one level by Standard & Poor’s on concern that weakening economic growth and a “fragile” government mean the nation won’t be able to reduce the euro region’s second-largest debt burden. Fiscal troubles in Europe and high unemployment in the U.S. are curbing growth in global oil-demand, OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla El- Badri said yesterday in Dubai.

“The downgrade further cements the demand destruction,” said Jonathan Barratt, a managing director of Commodity Broking Services Pty in Sydney. “It’s very tough for crude going anywhere near $90 a barrel.”

Crude oil futures for October delivery dropped as much as 59 cents and was at $85.60 a barrel at 2:05 p.m. Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell $2.26 to $85.70 a barrel yesterday, the lowest settlement since Aug. 26. The contract will expire today. The more actively traded November future was at $85.81 a barrel. New York oil has dropped 6.5 percent this year.

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September 19th, 2011

Gold futures will probably top $2,000 an ounce by year-end amid surging investor demand, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Gold futures prices will rise to a peak of $2,038 before Dec. 31, based on the average of 16 respondents in a Bloomberg survey at the London Bullion Market Association’s annual conference in Montreal. Next year, gold will peak at $2,268, according to the average in the survey.

Gold has surged 25 percent this year, touching a record $1,923.70 in New York on Sept. 6. The metal climbed as escalating debt woes in Europe and the prospect of faltering U.S. growth boosted demand.

“This is largely a crisis of confidence, and gold is a safe haven,” Rujan Panjwani, the president of Edelweiss Financial Services Ltd., said in an interview at the conference. “I see little chance of gold falling.”

Gold is in the 11th year of a bull market, the longest winning streak since at least 1920 in London, as investors seek to diversify away from equities and some currencies. Holdings in exchange-traded funds backed by the metal have jumped 31 percent in the past two years, reaching a record 2,260.5 metric tons on Aug. 8.

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September 19th, 2011

Commodities fell, led by copper’s drop to a nine-month low, on speculation that demand for raw materials will decline as European policymakers prepare to assess whether Greece can meet conditions of a rescue loan.

Industrial users of metals and energy and companies that use agriculture commodities to make food may slow purchases, waiting on a solution to the euro crisis. Greece needs to prove to its partners it’s doing enough to receive more aid.

“People are waiting on the sidelines to see if prices get cheaper,” said Gary Mead, an analyst at VM Group in London. “Industrial and end-users and consumers in the wholesale sense are in a wait-and-see mode. It’s clearly the fact that there’s no decision on the table for the end of the euro crisis. There’s a tremendous amount of fear out there.”

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September 8th, 2011

The hottest summer since 1955 in parts of the Midwest has eroded corn yields in the U.S., the world’s largest grower and exporter, sending prices to record highs for the harvest season.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sept. 12 may cut its crop forecast for a second straight month, to 12.554 billion bushels, down 2.8 percent from an August projection of 12.914 billion, according to the average estimate of 30 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Inventories before next year’s harvest will be the lowest since 1996, according to the survey.

Cash-corn prices in Iowa and central Illinois, the two largest growing states, have risen at least 71 percent in the past year to the highest ever before harvesting began this month, government data show. Crops in parts of the Midwest were damaged by the hottest temperatures in more than 100 years, boosting costs for livestock producers including Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) and ethanol makers such as Poet LLC.

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September 7th, 2011

Crude oil climbed the most in four weeks in New York as a weather system threatened to reduce U.S. production from the Gulf of Mexico, where shut-ins from last week’s storm probably curbed stockpiles.

Futures rose as much as 4.3 percent as the disturbance in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche strengthened. The Energy Department may report that inventories fell 2 million barrels last week as Tropical Storm Lee shut output, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Oil also rose on speculation President Barack Obama will announce plans for more than $300 billion in stimulus.

“A new storm is building up strength, which is giving the market a boost,” said Tom Bentz, a broker with BNP Paribas Commodity Futures Inc. in New York. “The API report tonight and the DOE report tomorrow will probably show a crude draw. There’s also optimism that President Obama will announce additional stimulus in his upcoming speech.”

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September 6th, 2011

Commodities fell to the lowest level in more than a week on deepening concern the European sovereign debt crisis may further slow global economic growth, damping demand for raw materials. Gold fell from a record in London after the Swiss central bank set a minimum exchange rate.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index dropped as much as 2.1 percent to 647.88, the lowest intraday level since Aug. 26, and was down 2 percent at 648.46 by 1:58 p.m. in London. Crude oil fell as much as 3.8 percent in New York. The S&P index has retreated 3.1 percent in the second half, as manufacturing activity slowed in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

“Commodity markets remain beset by concerns over global growth and the risks of sliding into another recession, with the situation made worse by the lack of any solution to Europe’s sovereign debt crisis,” Kevin Norrish, an analyst at Barclays Capital in London, wrote today in a report.

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S&P 500 Futures Fall on Economic Woes

On September 6, 2011, in S&P 500 futures news report, by Infinity Trading

September 6th, 2011

U.S. stock futures fell, indicating that the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index may slide for a third day, amid concern that Europe’s debt crisis is worsening and growth in American service industries is slowing.

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. sank 4.4 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, in early New York trading. Alcoa Inc. (AA), the largest U.S. aluminum producer, and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), the biggest construction and mining-equipment maker, helped lead losses among stocks most-linked to economic growth.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring this month lost 2.1 percent to 1,144.9 at 7:35 a.m. in New York, having earlier slumped as much as 2.8 percent. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 203 points, or 1.8 percent, to 11,005. Both contracts resumed declines after paring losses as the Swiss National Bank set a minimum franc exchange against the euro.

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September 2nd, 2011

Gold futures jumped the most in almost four weeks after a report showed that U.S. employment unexpectedly stagnated in August, lifting demand for haven assets.

The unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent and payrolls were unchanged, the weakest reading since September 2010, Labor Department data showed. Analysts expected a gain of 65,000. Gold has more than doubled since the end of 2008, touching a record $1,917.90 an ounce last month, as governments worldwide struggled with debt crises and as record-low U.S. borrowing costs boosted bullion’s appeal as an inflation hedge.

“Today is one of a series of data points that, when taken in aggregate, continue to show a weakening U.S. economy and a lack of confidence in our government’s ability to do something about it,” Steve Shafer, who helps manage $300 million as chief investment officer of Covenant Investors, said by telephone from Oklahoma City. “Combined with the problems out of Europe, there’s a depreciating confidence in fiat currencies. All of those funnel into a heightened demand for gold.”

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September 2, 2011

Corn futures rose the most in a week and soybeans rallied on speculation that hot, dry weather has damaged U.S. crops more than the government forecast last month.

Production of corn will drop to a three-year low of 12.35 billion bushels, researcher and broker INTL FCStone Inc. said yesterday. That’s below last month’s U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate of 12.914 billion. FCStone forecast the soybean crop at 3.03 billion bushels, less than the USDA’s estimate of 3.056 billion and last year’s harvest of 3.329 billion.

“U.S. crop forecasts are falling and that will continue to support the markets,” Chad Henderson, a market analyst for Prime Agricultural Consultants Inc. in Brookfield, Wisconsin, said in a telephone interview. “Until we hear actual farmer harvest results, the uncertainly about supplies keeps end-users and speculators buying on price dips.”

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September 2nd, 2011

U.S. stock futures slid, indicating the market may slide for a second day, as a government report showing employment growth stalled last month stoked concern the economy may fall into a recession.

Caterpillar Inc. and General Motors Co. lost at least 2.5 percent to help lead declines among companies most-sensitive to economic growth. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) tumbled following a report that the lenders may be sued by the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency. Netflix Inc. (NFLX) plunged 9.5 percent after the Starz LLC cable network walked away from contract-renewal talks amid a standoff over pricing.

Futures on the S&P 500 expiring this month fell 1.5 percent to 1,183.1 at 8:46 a.m. in New York. Contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 141 points, or 1.2 percent, to 11,324. The S&P 500 sank 5.7 percent in August, its biggest monthly decline since May 2010.

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