Feb. 1 -- Copper futures ended lower Tuesday as weak U.S. economic data and retreat by the euro damped investor interest in the growth-sensitive asset.
March-delivery copper, the most-active contract, slumped 3.65 cents, or 1%, to settle at $3.7900 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The U.S. consumer confidence index fell to 61.1 in January, private research group Conference Board said, from a revised reading of 64.8 in December. The January reading was well below the median economist forecast of 68.0.
Copper prices ticked lower on the data as the red metal is widely used in consumer products such as cellphones, televisions and cars, and demand for such products tends to wane when consumers lack the confidence to spend their money.
A weaker euro, which gave up earlier gains against the dollar, also pressured copper. The euro slipped 0.5% to trade at $1.3074 recently. Copper is priced in dollars and appears more expensive to investors who use euros when their home currency eases.
Copper suffered another setback after Goldman Sachs said it was cashing out of its bet on higher prices, as the industrial metal has rallied above Goldman's three-month price target. The bank said copper's rally was "too much, too soon" and noted the balance between metal supply and demand hadn't tightened in recent months.
Moreover, "the Chinese residential construction, consumer appliance and automotive sector remains soft," Goldman said, adding that copper prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange had lagged gains on other exchanges.
Earlier in the day, copper prices had climbed higher amid elation over a European Union agreement on a EUR500 billion permanent bailout fund.
Investors also got a shot in the arm from Greece and its private-sector creditors, as officials said they expect a debt restructuring deal in "coming days."
Copper settlements (ranges include electronic and pit trading):
Mar $3.7900; down 3.65 cents; Range $3.7650-$3.8760
May $3.8010; down 3.60 cents; Range $3.7800-$3.8855