Shares of material makers ended steady as high prices for commodities ran up against worries about demand.

Gold ended at a new all-time high, while copper and silver closed at fresh 52-week peaks as expectations about how much the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this year declined.

The Materials Select Sector SPDR Fund fell 0.1%.

Buyers in China are embracing gold as a hedge against an uncertain economy. "We believe a number of private investors may be buying gold due to a loss of confidence in PRC State banks, all other banks, [and] all other financial institutions," SP Angel said in a note. But there are other factors playing into the gains as well.

"While the buying of gold by central banks has supported prices, this is not seen as sufficient to drive prices as far as they have gone," he said.

Paper-and-packaging company Mondi said it won't be making an offer for peer DS Smith, paving the way for Smith's merger with International Paper to proceed.

Shares of paint and coatings manufacturer PPG lost 3.1% after it reported lower first-quarter sales due in part to a mild winter in the southern U.S. that cut demand for the company's car refinishing products.

Write to Patrick Sullivan at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-19-24 1758ET