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Metals Prices Drift Down

Gold loses $3.90 at $675.40 an ounce.

Copper prices were sliding Wednesday on concerns that credit market problems would spill over into the commodities arena and hurt demand for the metal.

September-dated contracts were down 7 cents at $3.58 a pound in recent action on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The

PowerShares DB Base Metals

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exchange-traded fund, which tracks prices for copper and other industrial metals, was losing 1.9%.

Also hurting prices was news that striking miners in Chile were back on the job, according to a report in the

Metals Insider

newsletter. Chile is the world's largest producer of copper.

Turning to precious metals, benchmark contracts for gold bullion were down $3.90 at $675.40 an ounce, while silver was off 4 cents at $12.98 an ounce.

The bullion ETFs,

streetTracks Gold Shares

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and

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iShares Silver Trust

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, were up 0.2% and 0.9%, respectively, in recent activity.

In the mining patch,

Kinross Gold

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reported income of 9 cents a share for the second quarter, down from 19 cents in the same period a year ago, but still a penny ahead of the consensus. The shares were down 1.4%.

Gold Fields

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reported earnings of $74 million for the three months ended June 30 compared with $101 million a year ago. The news sent the shares down 3.2% lately.

As for the agricultural complex, cocoa prices were off 1.5% at $1,913 a ton, while soybean prices were gaining 0.5% at $8.62 a bushel.

Elsewhere, BB&T Capital Markets upped its rating on shares of fruit company

Fresh Del Monte

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to hold from underweight, boosting the stock more than 4%.