Copper futures fell back after approaching $1.10 a pound Wednesday, but analysts cautioned that the supply squeeze wasn't over and prices would likely continue to spiral higher.
On other markets, precious metals futures settled slightly higher; stock index futures advanced; livestock and meat were mostly lower; grains and soybeans were mixed, and energy futures were mixed.
Copper futures on the Commodity Exchange in New York raced to new contract highs early in the day after breaching the $1-a-pound barrier for the first time in eight years on Tuesday.
But heavy trade selling and profit taking developed after the active December contract hit $1.092, said William O'Neill, research director for Elders Futures Inc. in New York.
The selling did not indicate a downturn in a market that has been rising steadily for more than a month, O'Neill said.
"We've seen corrections of this nature during the course of this long-running bull market," he said. "Today's session does not present anything unusual. All the fundamentals remain fully in place."
Indeed, warehouse stocks declined by 751 tons Wednesday to 51,789 tons, O'Neill said. Supplies are expected to continue falling into early 1988.
The key spread between the December and March contracts widened from 10 cents to 13.17 cents, premium December, an indication of "severe near-term tightness in the market," O'Neill said.
Copper settled 1.40 cents lower to 1.70 cents higher with the contract for delivery in December at $1.041 a pound.
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