Updated from 1:02 p.m. EDTEnergy contracts declined and precious metals rose, while agricultural futures were mixed Wednesday. Crude oil for April delivery was down $3.38 at $42.33 a barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Heating oil was off almost 7 cents, and gasoline futures were down more than 4 cents. Natural gas ticked lower. Prices declined after the Energy Department released its latest data on inventories. The government said crude stocks rose by 749,000 barrels in the week ended March 6, easily exceeding estimates for a build of around 200,000 barrels.
Seed and ag concern Monsanto ( MON) was up 4.6% at $81.24. Bunge ( BG) lost 2.2% to $50.22, and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan ( POT) climbed 4.2% to $78.14. The Market Vectors Agribusiness ( MOO) exchange-traded fund was up 2.4% at $27.36, and the U.S. Oil ( USO) fund was down 5.5% at $26.30. The Gold Shares ( GLD) were better by 1.2% at $89.22.