Gold and silver futures rose moderately yesterday on continued strong demand for precious metals.
Analysts said some traders took their profits after Tuesday's price gains, limiting price increases. Also, the dollar's recovery late in the day -- partly on reports that the West German central bank has not changed its policy of continuing support for the U.S. currency -- led to some selling.
Gold futures were $1.10 to $2.30 an ounce higher on New York's Commodity Exchange Inc., while silver futures rose by 2.6 to 5.5 cents an ounce. Platinum futures declined by 40 cents to $4.50 an ounce, rebounding from Tuesday's daily-trading-limit increases on heavy demand for gold at a U.S. Treasury auction of 1.5 million ounces.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, an Agriculture Department crop report showing larger-than-expected increases in the 1978 corn and soybean crop size led to mostly lower prices for those two commodities.
Wheat prices were 3/4-cent to 4 1/4 cents a bushel higher, closing at $3.54 1/2.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle and hog futures were mixed. Profit taking and speculation that high wholesale meat prices might break lower on diminished demand offset steady wholesale pork prices and expectations of light marketings of hogs for the rest of this week.
On the New York Coffee and Sugar Exchange, coffee futures were 1.75 to 3.2 cents a pound lower, closing at $1.2698 a pound, partly on reports that Columbia had reduced its formal asking price for export coffee.
In other markets, frozen concentrated orange juice futures rose by 0.25 to 1.4 cents a pound, cocoa futures were 1.65 to 2.3 cents a pound lower on expectations of reports of fairly large Ghanian government cocoa purchases from farmers for export, and lumber futures rose $1.90 to $3.80 per 1,000 board feet. The report on December housing starts was released after the market closed.