Crude futures edged lower ahead of tomorrow's holiday-delayed crude inventory report. A majority of investors believe that we should see a third-straight weekly climb in U.S. crude inventories and declines in gas and heating-oil supplies. The Energy Department and American Petroleum Institute (API) have delayed their supply reports until tomorrow thanks to Monday's Columbus Day holiday. Despite the early drop, oil prices rose past $81 per barrel in the afternoon thanks to worries over winter weather and a fire at a BP oil field in Alaska. The November crude contract finished the day $1.04 higher at $81.30 per barrel. It appears that pent-up crude demand continues to push prices higher, as distillates come into focus ahead of a predicted colder-than-last-year winter.
Gold finished the day $2.90 higher after giving up a majority of its early gains. The intraday high for the precious metal stood at $751.90 an ounce earlier in the session. The dollar dropped to a 10-day low versus the euro, which boosted the appeal of the precious metal. The dollar did manage to recoup some of its gains, and the malleable metal slipped. Traders continue to pour over the release of the Fed's minutes from the latest meeting and the Department of Commerce released its report on wholesale trade during August. This data showed that wholesale inventories rose less than economists had expected compared to a month earlier. Silver and copper also finished higher on the day as well.