Apr 25, 2012 NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Copper futures gained for a second day on Wednesday, tracking upbeat sentiment in equities markets after some good corporate-sector news and easing tension in Europe's debt crisis.
The most actively traded copper contract, for May delivery, rose 2.75 cents, or 0.8%, to settle at $3.70 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
European and U.S. stock markets gained Wednesday, boosted by upbeat corporate news, as both Apple Inc. and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Spain's second-largest bank, cleared analysts' earnings expectations during the first quarter. Construction- and mining-machinery maker Caterpillar Inc. reported record profit in the quarter.
Worries about the financial health of the euro zone had rattled markets at the start of this week, but that concern faded a bit along with easing borrowing costs in debt-laden Italy and Spain, propping up growth-sensitive assets. Copper prices tend to react to shifts in the economic outlook because of the metal's widespread uses in construction and manufacturing.
"It was an equity story today," traders with RBC Capital Markets said in a note. "The Caterpillar report was a mixed sign for commodity markets as strong sales of heavy equipment exhibited a positive sign for future commodity demand and the state of the underlying economy."
The euro was again higher against the U.S. Dollar for much of copper's trading day, lifting dollar-denominated copper by making the futures appear cheaper for buyers using other currencies.
"We are up across the board in most commodities again today," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir, in a note, adding that metals were tracking the euro's three-week high against the dollar.
Copper futures initially pared their gains after a report that U.S. orders for durable goods unexpectedly fell in March. The data provide a snapshot of demand for items such as refrigerators, cars and industrial machinery, as well as the confidence businesses have in making such investments.
Copper prices didn't show a strong reaction after Federal Reserve's policy-making committee released it's latest monetary policy statement. The U.S. central bank largely reiterated previously announced policies.
A press conference with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was scheduled for 2:15 p.m. EDT.
Copper settlements (ranges include electronic and pit trading):
Apr $3.7005; up 2.90 cents; Range $3.6940-$3.7090
May $3.7000; up 2.75 cents; Range $3.6605-$3.7150