Energy futures were generally stronger Tuesday, while precious metals were staying close to the flat line.

Recently, crude oil for April delivery was up $1.77 at $49.12 a barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Heating oil was adding 6 cents to $1.27 a gallon, and reformulated gasoline was higher by 4 cents at $1.41 a gallon. Natural gas was down 5 cents to $3.80 per million British thermal units.

As for metals, gold was slipping $1 to $915.80 an ounce, while silver was unchanged at $12.67 an ounce. Platinum crept lower, and palladium was slightly in the green. Copper was fractionally weaker at $1.72 a pound.

On the agricultural side, cocoa, corn, cotton, frozen concentrated orange juice and soybeans fell, while wheat, sugar and coffee rose. Cattle and lean hogs edged lower.

In the foreign exchange market, the dollar was mixed, rising against the yen, the pound and the Australian dollar, but dropping vs. the euro and the Swiss franc.

Among commodity-related stocks, Eldorado Gold ( EGO) was down 6% to $7.07 after being downgraded at CIBC World Markets. Pan American Silver ( PAAS), though, was up 1.3% at $14.35 after getting an upgrade from the same firm.

Rio Tinto ( RTP), which named a new chairman and offered a downbeat outlook, was off 4.5% at $111.19.

Other miners were also weak. BHP Billiton ( BHP) ticked lower by 0.2% to $41.21, and Freeport-McMoRan ( FCX) was giving back 2.3% to $36.39. Newmont Mining ( NEM) was down 3.1%.

Energy majors such as Exxon Mobil ( XOM) and Chevron ( CVX) were positive.

Turning to exchange-traded funds, the U.S. Oil ( USO) was surging 4.2% to $29.44, and the Gold Shares ( GLD) was easing 0.7% to $90.18.