NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Base metals are expected to trade lower Thursday as recent economic data haven't been positive for the market.

In addition, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments Wednesday that the U.S. economic outlook remains unusually uncertain have pushed the U.S. and Asian markets lower.

Weekly initial jobless claims reported Thursday came in at 464,000, above the consensus for 445,000.

The market is looking forward to the housing data to be released later Thursday. Existing-home sales for June are expected at a 5.10 million rate, compared with the 5.66 million pace in May.

However, the May house price index is seen logging a negative 0.30% reading , vs. the previous month's positive reading of 0.80%.

Copper

Copper for delivery within three months dropped approximately 1.6% to $6,752 on the London Metal Exchange (LME). Copper inventories maintained by LME continued to decline, shedding 1,975 tonnes to close at 417,625 tonnes Wednesday. Copper faces support at $6,741 and resistance at $6,802.

Meanwhile, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX) reported a rise in its second-quarter revenue to $3.86 billion from $3.68 billion a year earlier. The primary driver was higher-than-forecast sales of copper. Meanwhile, net income increased 9.4% to $649 million or $1.40 per share. The company commented that copper demand is much stronger than economic signals indicate.

Major copper producers in the world are trading very close to their resistance levels. Southern Copper ( SCCO), which closed at $31.08 in previous trading session, has support at $30.55, while resistance lies at $31.80. Meanwhile, Teck Resources ( TCK) closed at $33.51 with support and resistance at $32.69 and $34.57, respectively.

Aluminum

Aluminum for delivery within three months declined 0.7% higher at $1,995 per ton in the early hours of trading on the LME. On Wednesday, LME inventories reduced 2,925 tonnes to 4.42 million tonnes. Support and resistance for aluminum stands at $1,992 and $1,998 respectively.

According to a Metals Activity report by Metals Service Center Institute, the U.S. service center aluminum shipments surged 17.4% (123,500 tonnes) to 615,800 tonnes in the first half of the year as compared with the same period a year ago. Additionally, as per International Aluminum Institute, global aluminum production increased 1.3% year over year to 11.89 million tonnes in the first half of 2010 with 65,700 tonnes produced on a daily basis.

Alcoa ( AA) ended trading at $10.59, close to its resistance of $10.89. After that level, the next target would be $11.19. Support lies at $10.41. Century Aluminum ( CENX) closed at $9.57 with support and resistance at $9.38 and $9.83, respectively. Kaiser Aluminum ( KALU) closed at $38.95 with support at $38.54 and resistance at $39.36.

Nickel

Nickel for delivery within three months decreased 0.5% to $19,400 per ton in early hours of trading on LME. Nickel inventories maintained by LME were down 0.4% to settle at 117,762 tonnes Wednesday. Nickel faces support at $19,333, while resistance lies at $19,483.

Head of tax and customs at the Russia Finance Ministry Ilya Trunin Wednesday that the country is planning to introduce a new scale of nickel export duties in 2011 or earlier. Also, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics revealed that the nickel market was in deficit of 5000 tonnes during the January - May period vs. a surplus of 48,600 tonnes in the same period a year earlier.

Zinc

Zinc for delivery within three months dipped 1.6% to $1,887 per ton in early hours of trading on the LME. Zinc stockpiles shed down marginally to close at 618,875 tonnes. Zinc has support at $1,874 and resistance at $1,899.

Lead

Lead dipped 1.5% to $1,839 per ton in early hours of trading on the LME. At the end of trading Wednesday, lead inventories fell by 1,150 tonnes to 184,625 tonnes. Lead faces support at $1,834 and resistance at $1,847.

China's refined lead annual output may fall by 5% this year for the first time in almost a decade as concentrates are expensive and environmental checks stay tight. As per a Reuters poll of 17 analysts, the falling output could cut down the surplus of 60,000 tonnes.
Karvy Global Services (www.karvyglobal.com), a subsidiary of the Karvy group (www.karvy.com), provides specialized research in asset classes including stocks, mutual funds and insurance to leading Wall Street firms.