[BRIEFING.COM] Crude oil trended higher in today’s pit trade and touched a session high of $80.37 per barrel. The energy component pulled-back slightly as it headed into the close, but managed to finish with a gain of about 2% at $79.73 per barrel following two days of losses. Despite today’s strength, crude suffered a weekly loss of 5.1%. Weakness in previous sessions came on weaker-than-expected inventory data and a series of economic reports that included weak PMI manufacturing numbers from abroad and a disappointing Philadelphia Fed Survey. On the other hand, natural gas continued yesterday’s advance, climbing to a floor session high of $2.66 per MMBtu. Although it lost some steam near the close and settled at $2.63 per MMBtu, today’s gain led natural gas to finish the week 6.5% higher.
Gold was on a decline in morning pit action, falling to a session low of $1558.60 per ounce. However, the yellow metal found buying support and was able to climb out of negative territory in afternoon floor trade. Gold settled in the black for the first time this week, but the small gain was not nearly enough to offset losses suffered in previous sessions that followed the release of the FOMC Directive that announced the extension of "Operation Twist." In the end, gold finished the week 3.8% lower at $1566.80 per ounce. Meanwhile, silver extended yesterday's losses, falling to a new 2012 low of $26.51 per ounce. It inched slightly higher for the remainder of pit trade, but eventually settled at $26.68 per ounce, or 7.2% lower than last week's closing price.