Jun 22, 2010, LONDON (Dow Jones)--Base metals on the London Metal Exchange ended mixed Tuesday, paring early losses as the euro bounced from its lows and shorts were forced to cover their positions.
The metals held off early selling pressure, with copper steadying around $6,600 a metric ton. Market participants who had bet on lower prices had to buy back their positions since volatility is currently so high, said Robin Bhar, a metals analyst at Calyon in London.
"I think (because) the metals didn't go down (below supports) we're seeing just some intraday short-covering."
While the metals were mixed, the changes were modest, reflecting the uncertain outlook and sluggish performance in equity and currency markets. Disappointing U.S. existing home sales data initially damped sentiment, though U.S. equities later pulled into the black.
The metals struggled to find upward momentum after the initial enthusiasm from China's decision to allow greater movement in the yuan faded.
"Overall the metals still seem jittery, nervous and lacking direction," said Standard Bank analyst Leon Westgate in a report Tuesday.
The International Copper Study Group Tuesday said the copper market registered a 100,000-ton surplus in the first quarter. Consumption surged in March, leading to a 70,000-ton deficit that largely offset surpluses in January and February, the group said.