Copper, other metals sink as economic outlook dims

Copper and other metals fell Friday as grim signals for the U.S. economy continued to emerge.

Copper for December delivery gave up 10.55 cents, or 3 percent, to settle at $3.6375 a pound. Palladium lost nearly 4 percent, and platinum and silver each gave up about 2 percent.

The outlook for the U.S. economy dimmed Friday as weak earnings reports poured in from major companies. Microsoft, McDonald's and General electric all fell sharply after reporting disappointing results for the third quarter.

Separately a trade group of realtors reported that sales of previously occupied homes fell 1.7 percent in September after hitting a two-year high in August.

George Gero, a commodities analyst with RBC Wealth Management, said the selling was also a result of "investor impatience" with European officials to come up with credible solutions to resolve the debt problems in struggling countries like Spain. Investors have long expected Spain to make a formal request for aid from the European Central Bank, but it has yet to do so.

In other metals trading, December palladium lost $24.20 to $623 an ounce and January platinum dropped $28.20 to $1,615.50 per ounce. Gold for December delivery fell $20.70 to finish at $1,724 per ounce. December silver fell 77.10 cents to $32.097 per ounce.

Soybeans for November delivery fell 11.25 cents to $15.3425 per bushel. December corn edged up 0.75 cent to $7.615 per bushel and December wheat rose 4 cents to settle at $8.725 a bushel.

Benchmark crude fell $2.05 to end at $90.05 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Heating oil fell 5.21 cents to end at $3.1345 per gallon, wholesale gasoline dropped 4.88 cents to $2.6963 per gallon and natural gas rose 3 cents to end at $3.617 per 1,000 cubic feet.