Crude, precious metals prices fall; base metals mixed

Crude oil prices fell again Friday, with March contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude down $1.23 to $74.85 per barrel at about half an hour before the close of floor trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while March Brent crude was $1.49 percent lower on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

Nymex February gasoline futures were a cent lower to $1.97 per gallon while March heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.97 per gallon, but March natural gas added 15 cents to $5.72 per million British thermal units.

Metals markets were mixed.

March copper was 5 cents higher to $3.35 per pound in New York, while three-month contracts for the metal on the London Metal Exchange added $125 to $7,390 per tonne while tin added $25 to $17,775 per tonne.

Aluminium was $6 lower to $2,232 per tonne despite a slight decline in inventories from record highs reached earlier in the week, while lead fell $18 to $2,237 per tonne, zinc was down $50 to $2,350 per tonne and nickel dropped $590 to $18,310 per tonne.

Precious metals prices fell in New York, where February gold was down $13.50 to $1,089.70 per troy ounce, March silver fell 58 cents to $16.93 per troy ounce and April platinum dropped $38.30 to $1,553.80 per troy ounce.