Copper Falls for Second Day as Equities Decline, Supplies Grow

Copper fell for a second straight day in New York as U.S. equities erased earlier gains, sparking demand concerns amid signs of increasing supplies of the metal.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of equities slid after six straight gains as Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable company, lost 12 percent on its weakest sales increase in 14 quarters. Codelco, the biggest copper producer, predicted a surplus of the metal that it said may push prices down toward e year-end.

“There’s near-term nervousness about the overall health of the global economy with the Apple earnings report,” Sterling Smith, a futures specialist at Citigroup Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “That’s putting a bit of pressure on copper.”

Copper futures for delivery in March declined 0.2 percent to settle at $3.6765 a pound at 1:14 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal rose as much as 0.3 percent today on signs of accelerating growth in China and the U.S.

Codelco will boost supplies this year to 1.7 million metric tons from “under” that amount in 2012, Chief Executive Officer Thomas Keller said in an interview yesterday from Davos, Switzerland. Chile’s state-owned company will also start its Ministro Hales copper mine this year, boosting supplies.

Inventories of copper tracked by the London Metal Exchange were little changed at 344,850 tons, daily exchange figures showed. The stockpiles have climbed 7.8 percent this year.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months retreated 0.1 percent to $8,095.50 a ton ($3.67 a pound).

Nickel was also lower in London. Aluminum was unchanged, while lead, zinc and tin rose.