The Associated Press

Oil and other energy products closed sharply lower Wednesday in the wake of the presidential election as traders turned their focus back to the problems facing Europe and the U.S.

The prices of copper and other metals also fell. Agricultural commodities were mixed.

Crude oil plunged to its lowest point since July after European leaders slashed their forecasts for economic growth next year.

In the U.S., investors worried that a divided government in Washington may not be able to avoid the deep spending cuts and tax hikes set to take place in January unless Congress acts.

Crude oil dropped $4.27 to finish at $84.44 a barrel, a loss of nearly 5 percent and its biggest decline of the year. Wholesale gasoline fell 4 percent and heating oil fell 3 percent.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline dropped 11 cents, or 4.1 percent, to end at $2.5889 per gallon, heating oil dropped 9.08 cents, or 3 percent, to finish at $2.9621 per gallon, and natural gas dropped 3.9 cents to end at $3.578 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold for December delivery fell $1 to $1,714 an ounce, following two days of gains.

In other December metals contracts, silver fell 37.30 cents to finish at $31.661 per ounce; copper fell 6.45 cents to $3.4415 per pound and palladium fell $9.80 to $610.35 an ounce. January platinum ended down $18.80 at $1,539.50 an ounce.

In agricultural contracts, December wheat rose 17 cents to end at $8.94 per bushel, December corn increased 3.25 cents to $7.4425 per bushel and January soybeans fell 8.5 cents to $15.070 per bushel.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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