Palladium prices marched higher Thursday after a parade of automakers reported stronger sales.
Palladium for September delivery rose $22.45, or 4.8 percent, to settle at $491.20 an ounce.
A weaker dollar also helped commodity prices. Since most commodities are priced in dollars, a weaker dollar makes them more attractive to overseas buyers.
Traders were encouraged after Mitsubishi and Volkswagen AG turned in solid second-quarter performances, crediting in part healthy sales in China. Nissan saw its quarterly sales jump 35.3 percent.
In addition, Continental AG, which manufactures car parts and tires, forecast a 15 percent increase in sales for the year.
Palladium and platinum, which are used in making catalytic converters, are attracting more attention with growing signs that the auto industry is recovering from the recession, CPM Group analyst Carlos Sanchez said.
October platinum added $21.70 to settle at $1,563.40 an ounce.
In other metals for September delivery, copper gained 4.45 cents to settle at $3.2900 a pound and silver added 17.6 cents to $17.617 an ounce.
Gold for December delivery rose $8.80 to settle at $1,171.20 an ounce.
Wheat prices continued to rise amid concerns about an ongoing drought in Russia, Kazakhstan and parts of the Ukraine.
Forecasts for continuing hot, dry weather in the region, "which implies that the impact on crops is continuing on a daily basis," according to a research report issued by Barclays Capital.
"This news is likely to lead to concerns about the possibility of wheat export controls or bans being put in place that will undeniably support prices higher," the report stated.
Wheat for September delivery gained 12 cents to $6.275 a bushel. September corn contracts jumped 3 cents to settle at $3.7925 a bushel and November soybeans added 10 cents to $9.88 a bushel.
Energy contracts all settled higher as traders took advantage of a weaker dollar after ExxonMobil Corp. and Southwest Airlines Co. issued better-than-expected earnings.
Benchmark crude for September delivery rose $1.37 to settle at $78.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In other Nymex contracts, natural gas for September delivery rose 10.9 cents to settle at $4.827 per 1,000 cubic feet.
August heating oil rose 4.08 cents to settle at $2.0372 a gallon. Because that contract expires on Friday, much of the trading has moved to the September contract, where the price gained 4.36 cents to settle at $2.0696 a gallon.
August gasoline gained 3.4 cents to settle at $2.0974 a gallon. The September contract rose 3.63 cents to $2.1010 a gallon.