Jul 26, 2012 (Dow Jones) NEW YORK--Copper prices settled higher Thursday, though the contract finished off its intraday peak as niggling concerns about Europe's growth offset earlier gains made after Europe's top central banker assured markets about the euro's future.
The most actively traded contract, for September delivery, settled 1.90 cents, or 0.6%, higher at $3.3935 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank would do everything within its mandate to preserve the euro, reassuring markets that the bank is committed to stabilizing the region's debt crisis.
Copper prices rallied to their highest level in nearly a week at $3.4380 a pound as investors rushed to the market as buyers.
However, copper futures spent the rest of the trading day drifting lower as traders sifted through Mr. Draghi's comments and weighed the likelihood of imminent action to stimulate growth in Europe.
"For the copper market, maybe you have to see Europe accomplish something rather than just tell us that they will," said Frank Lesh, broker and futures analyst with FuturePath Trading. "Maybe copper is telling us that we should be a little skeptical."
Earlier in the day, copper prices also got a shot in the arm from stronger-than-expected U.S. durable goods orders data. New orders for long-lasting goods like planes, trains and factory machinery climbed 1.6% in June, beating forecasts of a 0.6% increase.
Investors tend to watch economic reports for signals of future copper demand.
Trader attention now turns to awaiting the preliminary reading of U.S. second-quarter economic growth, due out Friday. Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the goods and services produced by an economy, is forecast to have increased 1.3%.
Copper settlements (ranges include electronic and pit trading):
Jul $3.3940; up 1.90 cents; Range $3.3750-$3.4220
Sep $3.3935; up 1.90 cents; Range $3.3535-$3.4380