NEW YORK/LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - Copper prices ended firmer on Monday, as a return of risk appetite helped drive gains in the broader market and pull the dollar down from an earlier three-week high against the euro.
Copper for May delivery HGK0 on the New York Mercantile Exchange's COMEX division eked out a 0.80-cent gain by the close at $3.3805 per lb, after dealing between $3.3105 and $3.3890.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for three-months delivery CMCU3 closed at $7,450 a tonne from a close of $7,435 on Friday. The metal, used in power and construction, earlier hit a session low at $7,305.
"It's exogenous factors which are really the pivots at the moment for the commodities -- it's not really internal fundamentals, it's the external elements," said Nick Moore, global head of commodity strategy, RBS Global Banking & Markets.
U.S. equities rose after the passage of a landmark bill to reform healthcare drove up big pharmaceutical companies. The gains helped copper recover earlier losses as investor appetite for riskier assets returned.
"I think there really is a lot of uncertainty out there with the healthcare bill. I think a lot of people don't know what's going on and what it means for the long-term debt affect of the United States," said Zachary Oxman, managing director with TrendMax Futures
in Encinitas, California.
"I think it bodes extremely bullish for the metals," he said. Furthermore, the euro extended gains versus the U.S. dollar, but traders believed the move would be short-lived due to ongoing concerns about the fiscal health of the euro zone due to uncertainty about whether debt-laden Greece would secure aid this week.
Offering additional support, data showed China's implied demand for copper rose in February, indicating the country's appetite for the metal remains strong.
Demand from China helped copper surge 140 percent last year, but investors worry that the world's top copper consumer will slow buying this year as it tries to rein in red-hot growth.
Investors still lamented a weak pick-up in Western demand, which lagged behind the Asian rate of consumption.
Aluminium CMAL3 closed at $2,255 compared with $2,258. The metal used in transport and packaging hit a session low of $2,221, its lowest since March 11.
Zinc CMZN3 ended at $2,277 from $2,295. Lead CMPB3 closed at $2,165 from $2,200. The battery material hit a session low of $2,148, its lowest since March 2.
Tin CMSN3 ended at $17,550 from $17,650 and nickel CMNI3 at $22,275 from $22,450.
The market kept an eye on a dominant position controlling 50-80 percent of warrants on LME nickel stocks.
Canceled warrants of nickel stood at 4,590 tonnes. This metal tagged for delivery comprised about 3 percent of total LME nickel stocks, which stood at 157,710 tonnes.
Market players watched iron ore price negotiations. Japanese steelmakers and iron ore miners have reached a tentative deal to adopt short-term contracts linked to the spot market, ending the decades-old annual benchmark system, the Financial Times said.