Copper Futures Advance on Expansion in U.S. Service Industries

Copper prices rose, capping the biggest weekly gain in more than four months, after a report showed U.S. service industries expanded at the fastest pace in six months.

The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index, which covers about 90 percent of the economy, rose to 55 last month from 54.3 in October. A reading higher than 50 signals growth. The dollar fell for the third straight day against a basket of major currencies, enhancing the investment appeal of raw materials.

“The market is breathing a sigh of relief after the ISM number,” said Matthew Zeman, a metal trader at LaSalle Futures Group in Chicago. “The weaker dollar also helps to boost commodities. Copper will probably rise into the year-end.”

Copper futures for March delivery rose 2 cents, or 0.5 percent, to settle at $3.999 a pound at 1:16 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The most-active contract gained 6.3 percent this week, the most since late July.

Earlier, the metal fell as much as 0.8 percent as an unexpected increase in U.S. unemployment damped prospects for the economic recovery.

Copper has jumped 39 percent since July 1 as growth in emerging markets bolstered demand and tightened supplies. On Nov. 11, the price reached a 30-month high of $4.0875. The record high was $4.2605 on May 5, 2008.

Copper may reach $5 by the middle of 2011 because “China, Brazil and India are still expanding,” said Michael K. Smith, the president of T&K Futures & Options in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months added $5 to $8,725 a metric ton ($3.96 a pound).

Tin was unchanged in London. Aluminum, lead, nickel and zinc fell.

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