NEW YORK, Nov. 4 -- Copper in New York gained for the first time in three sessions after a report showed orders placed with U.S. factories rose in September, easing concern that the economic rebound is slowing.
Factory bookings increased 0.9 percent, the fifth gain in six months, reinforcing signs that manufacturing will drive the economic recovery, data from the Commerce Department showed. Copper prices have more than doubled this year on signs that reviving growth will boost demand for raw materials.
"The factory orders being up did bring in some support for copper," said Lorne Kalisky, the president of Vican Trading Inc. in Montreal. "Reports like that bring in a lot of fund money."
Copper futures for December delivery rose 1.1 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $2.956 a pound on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Comex unit.
The metal also climbed after union officials said BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, failed to reach an agreement with striking workers at its Spence copper mine in Chile today.
The conflict is unlikely to be resolved this week, said Pedro Marin, president of Chile's Mining Federation, a labor union. The country is the world's largest source of the metal.
Earlier, copper prices lost as much as 1.7 percent, touching $2.895, the lowest for a most-active contract since Oct. 21. The metal fell 2.6 percent last week on concern that rising inventories may signal slowing demand.
Stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange have increased more than 8 percent in the past month to the highest level since May 12. Higher inventories make copper vulnerable to "significant downside potential," according to Michael Jansen, an analyst at JPMorgan Securities Ltd. in London.
"The problem for copper is that there is a significant overhang of inventories," Vican Trading's Kalisky said.
On the LME, copper for three-month delivery fell $95, or 1.4 percent, to $6,460 a metric ton ($2.93 a pound).
Among other metals traded in London, aluminum, nickel, lead and zinc prices declined. Tin rose.