Copper futures rise on ECB hopes, upbeat U.S. outlook

Shutterstock photo - - Copper prices rose on Thursday, as sentiment recovered amid expectations for additional stimulus measures by the European Central Bank and amid indications the U.S. economy remained resilient amid slowing global growth.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper for March delivery picked up 1.2 cents, or 0.45%, to trade at $2.771 a pound during European morning hours, after hitting a session high of $2.779.

A day earlier, copper lost 0.8 cents, or 0.31%, to settle at $2.758 a pound. The red metal hit $2.744 earlier in the week, a level not seen since June 2010.

Futures were likely to find support at $2.744 a pound, the low from January 5, and resistance at $2.782, the high from January 6.

Sentiment recovered amid growing expectations that the European Central Bank could implement quantitative easing as soon as its next meeting on January 22.

Prices received additional support after data released Wednesday showed that the U.S. private sector added a larger-then-forecast 241,000 jobs in December.

The upbeat data boosted the outlook for the U.S. recovery and raised expectations for a strong reading of the government nonfarm payrolls due on Friday.

Elsewhere on the Comex, gold futures for February delivery dipped $3.70, or 0.31%, to trade at $1,207.00 a troy ounce, while silver futures for March delivery lost 16.7 cents, or 1.01% to trade at $16.37 an ounce.

Wednesday's minutes of the Federal Reserve's December meeting published Wednesday did little to alter expectations that U.S. interest rates will start to rise later this year.

Gold lost nearly 2% in 2014 amid indications a strengthening U.S. economic recovery will force the Fed to start raising interest rates sooner and faster than previously thought.

Expectations of higher borrowing rates going forward is considered bearish for gold, as the precious metal struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when rates are on the rise.

Later Thursday, the U.S. was to produce its weekly report on initial jobless claims.

The US dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, climbed to a nine-year high, boosted by the diverging policy outlook between the Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe and Japan.

Meanwhile, oil prices recovered on Thursday, as investors returned to the market to close out bets on lower prices.

Nymex oil futures tacked on 15 cents, or 0.3%, to $48.80 a barrel, while London-traded Brent prices picked up 5 cents, or 0.1%, to $51.20. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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