* Buyers return to hunt bargains in some battered markets
* Brent crude closes below $100, first time since July
* Gold ekes out gain after slide to 2-year low
* Platinum, palladium join rebound in gold
* Cocoa moves up along with soy, corn and wheat
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, April 16 Brent crude oil futures fell
below $100 a barrel for the first time in nine months but gold
eked out a gain after hitting a two-year bottom and other
commodities recovered some ground after one of the worst two-day
drops in recent history.
Platinum and palladium joined gold in rebounding as the
dollar fell, and copper prices rose on the back of upbeat U.S.
housing data. Cocoa hit a four-month high, and wheat, corn and
soybeans all closed higher.
"We overdid it yesterday," Shawn McCambridge, grains analyst
at Jefferies Bache, said, referring to the two-day rout across
commodities which peaked on Monday.
The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index
rose almost 1 percent to mark its biggest rebound in a
month. The globally watched commodities indicator fell 2.2
percent in the previous session for its sharpest one-day loss
since December 2011.
In other financial markets, U.S. stocks rose after an
initial slide and bond prices fell as investors appeared to be
less risk-averse than on Monday.
But lingering investor caution after this week's news of
anemic global growth signaled that the rebound may be fragile.
German analyst and investor sentiment fell sharply on Tuesday in
a sign that a renewed flare-up of the euro zone crisis was
hurting Europe's largest economy.
"Our suspicion is that we could start to stabilize today,
before the selling resumes later in the week given that the
chart picture still looks very poor while global macro readings
leave a lot to be desired," said Edward Meir, commodities
analyst at INTL FC Stone in Chicago.
Brent crude settled down 72 cents at $99.91 a
barrel, closing under the $100 mark for the first time since
July as data from China and the United States pointed to little
growth in global oil demand.
Brent crude has fallen in nine of the past 11 trading
sessions, and is down nearly 13 percent from the beginning of
U.S. crude settled up 1 cent at $88.72 a barrel after
hitting a low of $86.06, its weakest since December 2012.
Both Brent and U.S. crude pared losses in afternoon trading,
suggesting that low prices were luring back some buyers.
"We're seeing the bargain hunters come in," said Richard
Ilczyszyn, chief market strategist and founder of iitrader.com.
GOLD REBOUND SEEN FRAGILE
Gold extended its decline to a two-year low overnight before
The spot price of bullion fell 8.5 percent on Monday, its
biggest ever daily fall in dollar terms. At one point it was
down $142 an ounce, catching gold bulls, speculators and veteran
investors all by surprise.
Gold has fallen nearly 20 percent so far this year after an
unbroken 12-year string of gains. It is down some 28 percent
from a record high of $1,920.30 an ounce set in September 2011.
The historic selloff in the last two sessions prompted
investors to assess the damage to bullion's status as a hedge
against inflation and currency depreciation.
"I'm selling into the rally and waiting to figure out what's
going on," said Charles Gradante, co-founder of The Hennessy
Group in New York, which invests in hedge funds.
"The question is where's gold going from here. Now this
could be a 'dead cat bounce' we're getting today."
Spot gold bottomed at $1,321.35 overnight, the lowest
price since Jan. 28, 2011. It fetched about $1,368 by 5:30 p.m.
EDT (2130 GMT), up 1 percent from Monday's close.
Prices at 5:36 p.m. EDT (2136 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 88.85 0.01 0.0% -3.2%
Brent crude 100.14 -0.49 -0.5% -9.9%
Natural gas 4.160 0.023 0.6% 24.1%
US gold 1386.80 26.20 1.9% -17.2%
Gold 1368.80 16.05 1.2% -18.2%
US Copper 332.35 3.20 1.0% -9.0%
LME Copper 7300.00 98.00 1.4% -8.0%
Dollar 81.824 -0.593 -0.7% 6.6%
US corn 663.25 16.50 2.6% -5.0%
US soybeans 1411.50 16.50 1.2% -0.5%
US wheat 703.50 9.75 1.4% -9.6%
US Coffee 135.85 1.40 1.0% -5.5%
US Cocoa 2294.00 51.00 2.3% 2.6%
US Sugar 18.01 0.22 1.2% -7.7%
US silver 23.628 0.267 1.1% -21.8%
US platinum 1450.00 25.80 1.8% -5.8%
US palladium 678.20 11.20 1.7% -3.6%