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Copper Slips as Stores Climb

Gold falls more than $2 an ounce.

Copper prices were falling Tuesday on news of growing stockpiles of the metal in the U.K.

December-delivery copper was sliding 6 cents at $3.30 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The move came after word that inventories of the metal in London Metal Exchange warehouses rose about 10,000 tons to around 136,000 tons, the highest point in three months. The increased inventories, together with more evidence of housing sector softness, helped dampen sentiment.

"The surprise in today's stock increase was its size, almost 8%," says Martin Hayes, an analyst at

BaseMetals.com

in London. "That's much bigger than anyone was expecting."

He also notes that copper is flooding into LME warehouses in part because of the price premium paid for LME metal over that which could be received for the same material traded on the Shanghai exchange.

The

PowerShares DB Base Metals

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exchange-traded fund, which tracks the prices of industrial metals, was dipping 2% in recent action.

As for precious metals, December-dated gold contracts were shedding $2.30 at $673.90 an ounce. Silver contracts were steady at $11.93 an ounce in recent New York futures market action.

The ETFs that hold stores of precious-metals bullion, the

streetTracks Gold Shares

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and the

iShares Silver Trust

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, were both off less than 1%.

As for agricultural products, news that Egypt wants to buy more wheat helped boosts prices for the grain 1.5% at $7.49 a bushel. Benchmark contracts for lean hogs were slipping 0.7% at 67 cents a pound.