Silver rises 5 percent as metals continue upswing

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NEW YORK (AP) — Gold and silver prices are sharply higher ahead of the long holiday weekend.

Gold rose $18.50, or 1.4 percent, to $1,318.60 an ounce on Friday. Silver had an even bigger rise, jumping $1.03, or 5 percent, to $21.42 an ounce.

Precious metals are having a great 2014 — gold is up 10 percent, silver 11 percent — following huge declines the year before. Gold fell nearly 30 percent in 2013; silver fell 36 percent.

Silver tends to be more volatile than gold, which has wider interest among investors, said Sterling Smith, a commodities analyst with Citigroup. So when gold rose earlier this week, it was expected that silver would have to play catch-up, Smith said.

"The silver market has been underperforming gold all year and that tends to correct itself over time," Smith said.

Other metals also rose. March palladium futures rose $6.50, or 1 percent, to $737.60 an ounce. April platinum rose $13.50, also 1 percent, to $1,430.10 an ounce and high-grade copper futures rose a penny, or 0.4 percent, to $3.26 a pound.

Agricultural commodities were mixed. March wheat rose 3 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $5.985 a bushel while corn rose 5 cents, or 1 percent, to $4.45 a bushel. Soybeans for March delivery fell 7 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $13.38.

In energy trading, crude oil fell 5 cents to $100.30 a barrel. Heating oil rose 5 cents to $3.08 a gallon and natural gas, after surging 8 percent the day before, was basically unchanged at $5.21 per thousand cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline futures rose 3 cents, or 1 percent, to $2.80 a gallon.

U.S. markets will be closed Monday for Presidents' Day.

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