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>>>Heating-Oil, Crude Futures Resume Rally As Snow Blankets Northeast Dow Jones Newswires

NEW YORK -- A major snowstorm in the U.S. Northeast and expectations of continued tight supplies helped heating-oil futures and other crude-oil products resume their recent uptrend at the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday.

February heating oil surged 4.03 cents, or 4.7%, to end at 90.38 cents a gallon, reversing much of Monday's 7.7% sell-off.

Forecasts for milder winter weather next week and a rise in Nymex margins on heating oil led to heavy liquidation of bullish speculative positions on Monday. But the substantial snowfall in the Northeast, the largest heating-oil consuming region in the world, had a bullish psychological impact on Tuesday's trading, traders said.

Adding fuel to the recovery in prices was a perception that last week's severely cold weather in the Northeast further tightened distillate inventories, which include heating oil.

The rally in heating oil spilled over to the rest of the energy complex.

March crude oil rose 45 cents, or 1.6%, to settle at $28.28 a barrel, erasing Monday's 1.3% decline. April crude finished up 40 cents, or 1.5%, at $27.31 a barrel, wiping out a 1% decline Monday.

February unleaded gasoline climbed 1.31 cents, or 1.7%, to finish at 76.79 cents a gallon, after falling nearly 2% Monday. Gasoline futures also got support from news that Tosco Corp's 240,000 barrel-a-day refinery in Bayway, N.J., had shut a fluid catalytic cracker for unplanned maintenance.

February natural gas finished up 8.8 cents, or 3.5%, at $2.616 per million BTUs, extending a 1.7% gain on Monday.

Also in New York, metals ended mixed, with gold losing ground after the Bank of England's latest auction of the metal. On New York's Commodities Exchange, February gold fell $1.50 to settle at $286.60 an ounce.

The BOE gold auction Tuesday was initially hailed as bullish because of its better-than-expected demand. The BOE sold 25 metric tons, or 804,400 troy ounces, at an allotment price of $289.50 an ounce at its fourth auction, which was 4.3 times overbid. The last auction in November was only 2.1 times subscribed.

Gold was fixed Tuesday afternoon in London at $288.00 an ounce, down 70 cents from the morning fixing.

On the Comex, meanwhile, March silver rose 2.2 cents to end at $5.315 an ounce.

April platinum climbed $5.90, or 1.4%, to settle at $441.90 an ounce. Uncertainty over Russian exports, coupled with growing use of the platinum group metals in auto manufacturing were leading to a tight market, traders noted.

Among industrial metals, March copper dropped 1.40 cents, or 1.6%, to end at 84.25 cents a pound.

Late Tuesday, the Bridge/CRB futures index was up 1.02 at 212.06.

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