Gold holds, but platinum and palladium down

NEW YORK -- The price of gold held steady Wednesday on a rough day for the broader financial markets. The prices of palladium and platinum, which depend on global economic strength, dropped.

Gold for December delivery rose 10 cents an ounce to $1,765.10.

Stocks fell sharply because of signs of concern from Alcoa and Chevron. Alcoa said it expects a slowdown in China to lower demand for the aluminum it makes. Chevron warned about slumping prices and production.

George Gero, a vice president at RBC Global Futures, said a sell-off in gold is unlikely considering low interest rates, tension between Syria and Turkey and the ongoing European debt crisis. Investors often hold gold for safety at times of worry.

The prices of platinum and palladium, which are used in catalytic converters and other products, each fell by at least 1 percent. January platinum dropped $16.80 to ounce to $1,678.50, and December palladium fell $8.30 to $649.90.

December silver rose 12.4 cents to $34.109. December copper was flat at $3.718 per pound.

In the energy markets, benchmark crude fell $1.14 to $91.25 per barrel. Crude rose early in the day after the government reported wholesale stockpiles rose, but discouraging data on jobs later in the day tempered the optimism.

Other energy prices mostly rose. November heating oil rose 0.99 cent to $3.2131 per gallon, November wholesale gasoline rose 0.06 cent to $2.9593 per gallon, and November natural gas rose 0.8 cent to $3.4750.

Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, rose $2.68 per barrel to $114.50.

In agricultural markets, December wheat rose 5.5 cents to $8.6975 per bushel. December corn lost 5.25 cents to $7.3675 per bushel. And November soybeans fell 26.75 cents to $15.2325 per bushel.

Grain investors are waiting for a report Thursday from the Agriculture Department on world supply and demand. It will shed more light on where supplies stand as harvests end.