NEW YORK, Mar 07, 2011 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- Copper futures fell alongside equities markets Monday as higher oil prices reignighted investor concerns about the U.S. economy.
The most actively traded contract, for May delivery, settled at its lowest price in eight days, down 3.5%, or 15.85 cents, at $4.3270 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The front-month contract, for March delivery, ended down 3.6%, or 15.9 cents, at $4.3130 a pound.
A late-morning decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index dragged copper prices lower. The index is viewed as a gauge of economic growth, and its retreat signaled a negative outlook. The DJIA was recently down 0.9%, or 102.9, at 12,067.0, after opening in positive territory.
"The economic outlook is not good at this juncture and especially with energy prices rising as much as they have, copper could have more pressure on it," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist with Lind-Waldock.
Copper demand is linked to economic growth, as the metal is widely used in automobiles, construction and consumer electronics.
Higher crude oil prices and their damping influence on economic growth added to downward pressure on copper prices. With oil futures above $105 a barrel Monday, investors worried that consumers will divert more of their income to cover rising energy costs, leaving less cash for goods like iPhones and laptops.
"The high energy prices may slow the economic recovery which is why you don't see copper making new highs," said George Gero, vice president with RBC Capital Markets Global Futures.