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Copper Falls on European Woes, U.S. Fiscal-Cliff Concerns

Copper futures fell for the first time in three days on signs of a deepening slump in Europe and concern that the so-called fiscal cliff will hinder an economic recovery in the U.S.

Euro-area industrial production in September dropped the most in three years, led by double-digit declines in Portugal and Ireland, data showed today. President Barack Obama is negotiating to reach a deficit-reduction deal with Congress to avert $607 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts.

“There was some not-very-good data out of the euro zone, and markets are going to have a tough time until this fiscal cliff is resolved,” Matt Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “I can’t imagine there will be a whole lot of upside until there’s a resolution.”

Copper futures for March delivery declined 0.5 percent to settle at $3.465 a pound at 1:12 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The contract rose 0.8 percent in the previous two days.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 0.5 percent to $7,640 a metric ton ($3.47 a pound). Aluminum dropped, while zinc, nickel, lead and tin gained.

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