NEW YORK/LONDON, July 8 (Reuters) - Copper climbed to its highest in more than a week on Thursday, as a rally in equities and the euro reflected improved risk appetite, but gains moderated late in the day as technical pressures mounted and economic recovery concerns persisted.
Copper for September delivery HGU0 on the COMEX metals division of the New York Mercantile Exchange eked out a 0.05 cent gain to finish at $3.0155 per lb, after dealing from $2.9910 to $3.0545, its loftiest level since June 29.
Momentum eased after prices tested their 50-day moving average trend line, said Charles Nedoss, senior account manager and metals analyst with Olympus Futures in Chicago.
"The 50-day ($3.0550 per lb) is a key level to keep an eye on. If we can get a close above that, I don't have much resistance up until about $3.18, which is the 200-day moving average," he said.
On the London Metal Exchange, benchmark copper for three-month delivery CMCU3 peaked at $6,745 per tonne, another high dating back to June 29, before ending at $6,610 a tonne from a final bid at $6,640 at the close on Wednesday.
"The reason why prices are going up is because of improved sentiment around the euro, plus the anticipation of good Chinese imports," said Daniel Smith, an analyst at Standard Chartered.
Buyers in China have increased booking of spot copper imports since May as the arbitrage has mostly stayed open for buying from the LME and selling to Shanghai.
European and U.S. stocks rose and the euro hit a two-month peak against the dollar, on expectations the forthcoming earnings season would be strong. A weaker U.S. currency cheapens dollar-priced commodities for non-U.S. investors.
A trend of falling inventory levels has offered some support in recent weeks, against a backdrop of weak economic data and sovereign debt jitters. Copper stocks slipped 350 tonnes to 439,000 tonnes and have fallen from 6-1/2 year highs above 555,000 tonnes hit in mid-February.
"Risk appetite appears to be improving, and it's anyone's guess when it will reverse (in our view, something that is quite certain)," said Deutsche Bank in a note.
"While we believe that value is starting to emerge in various industrial commodities, aluminium/copper/iron ore, we expect that prices are likely to remain under pressure over the next couple of months at least," the note added. "In short, we are not convinced that this latest round of deflationary fear is over."
Aluminum CMAL3 ended the kerb unchanged at $1,985 a tonne. LME stocks for the metal, used in transport and packaging, fell 5,675 tonnes to 4.4 million tonnes, down from record levels above 4.6 million tonnes touched in late January.
Among other metals, lead CMPB3 rose $33 to end at $1,828 a tonne, zinc CMZN3 edged up $2 at $1,855, while tin CMSN3 shed $100 to close at $17,550. Nickel CMNI3 firmed $200 to finish at $19,400 a tonne.
Workers at Vale's (VALE5.SA) Sudbury, Ontario, nickel and copper mining operations are expected to vote late Thursday on a decision whether to end a nearly year-long strike.