COMMODITIES-Up broadly as markets recover from Sandy; oil mixed
* Brent, US oil prices diverge
* Copper, wheat and soybeans close higher; coffee down
NEW YORK, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Commodities rose broadly on Thursday as markets tried to regain a sense of normalcy after a storm devastated the economically key U.S. East Coast, but oil prices were mixed on varying reactions to economic data. U.S. crude oil futures settled up 1 percent at $87.09 a barrel on the back of larger-than-expected draws in oil stocks and bullish data in the United States, the world's largest economy and consumer of energy. U.S. stock markets, which often lead oil prices, also rallied as data showed domestic companies added jobs in October at the fastest pace in eight months and consumer confidence hit its highest level in more than four years. U.S. gasoline prices also rose. ``As highways are reopened, etc, a scramble for gasoline supply at the retail level appears to be supporting,'' Jim Ritterbusch, president of oil research firm Ritterbusch & Associates, said in a note. But London's Brent crude, which determines global oil prices more than U.S. crude, finished down a half percent at $108.17 a barrel on expectations that oilfield output in the North Sea will normalize soon after maintenance concludes. Brent was also weighed down by concerns about the euro zone economy, and fear that the destruction wrought by superstorm Sandy could further delay the U.S. recovery. Political uncertainties could keep oil prices trading sideways over the next week, analysts said. The U.S. election is six days away while China's leaders will be meeting to fill top posts in the world's largest commodities importer. The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global indicator for commodities, settled up 0.4 percent after 10 of the 19 markets tracked by the index settled in positive territory.
COPPER, SOYBEANS, WHEAT UP Copper rose, helped by the U.S. jobs and consumer confidence data and other statistics showing a glimmer of renewed economic vigor in big metals consumer China and other key Asian nations.
London's three-month copper contract closed 0.9 percent higher at $7,826 per tonne, the third day of gains. The market hit a two-month low on Monday after shedding 9 percent since touching a peak of $8,422 on Sept. 19 following a burst of buying linked to central bank stimulus measures. So far this year, copper is up 4.6 percent. Soybean futures rose for a third straight day in Chicago trade, led by strength in Chinese soy markets. Wheat firmed for a second day. Arabica coffee futures bucked the trend, dropping to the lowest level in more than four months, on pressure from the firm U.S. dollar and chart-based selling.
Prices at 3:54 p.m. EDT (1954 GMT)