Copper fell for the first time in three sessions in New York as evidence that the U.S. economy is on firmer footing boosted the dollar and weakened the case for additional economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values showed home prices in 20 U.S. cities dropped at a slower pace in January, while consumer confidence in March held close to the highest level in a year, the New York-based Conference Board said. The dollar rebounded from a three-week low against a basket of currencies, reducing the appeal of the metal as an alternative investment.
“Dollar strength is weighing on the market,” Harry Denny, a broker at Hoboken, New Jersey-based PVM Futures Inc., said in a telephone interview. “Until the Fed sees that housing has fully recovered, they’ll hint at stimulus. But I think they’ll just leave that on the table.”
Copper futures for May delivery retreated 0.2 percent to settle at $3.88 a pound at 1:17 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices gained 3.2 percent in the previous two sessions, and have risen 13 percent this quarter.
The metal climbed the most in almost five weeks yesterday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said continued accommodative monetary policy will be needed to make further progress in lowering unemployment.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months was unchanged at $8,535 a metric ton ($3.87 a pound).
Lead and nickel declined in London. Aluminum, tin and zinc rose.
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