NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Base metals were expected to move higher Friday, taking their cue from Asian and U.S. equities as there are no economic data releases scheduled in the U.S.

Meanwhile, if European banks stress tests are favorable they might weaken the dollar, thereby favoring base metals. Profit-taking can't be ruled out, however, as investors have accumulated gains during the week.


Copper for delivery within three months gained 0.6% to $7,050 on the London Metal Exchange. Copper inventories maintained by LME continued their downfall and shed 1,100 tonnes to close at 416,525 tonnes Thursday. Copper faces support at $6,935 and resistance at $7,088.

Increasing evidence of declining copper output by companies like Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX) and BHP Billiton ( BHP) in their latest quarterly results may push copper prices higher. Freeport said that copper output dropped 13% year over year during the second quarter, while BHP reported a 5% decline.

Major copper producers in the world are trading very close to their resistance levels. Southern Copper ( SCCO), which closed at $32.05 in the previous trading session, has support at $31.66, while resistance lies at $32.50. Meanwhile, Teck Resources ( TCK) closed at $35.07 with support and resistance at $34.52 and $35.42, respectively.


Aluminum for delivery within three months rose 0.8% at $2,059 per ton on the LME. On Thursday, LME inventories were reduced 4,075 tonnes to 4.42 million tonnes. Support and resistance for aluminum stands at $2,041 and $2,065, respectively.

According to a latest Standard & Poor's report, demand fundamentals for aluminum would be relatively weak in the near term as there is risk arising from industry overcapacity reflecting in current record inventory levels despite production cutbacks.

Alcoa ( AA) ended trading at $10.82, close to its resistance of $10.96 after which is technically seen to be crossing $11.11. Its support lies at $10.70. Century Aluminum ( CENX) closed at $10.18 with support and resistance at $9.85 and $10.40, respectively. Kaiser Aluminum ( KALU) closed at $39.74 with support at $39.35 and resistance at $40.02.


Nickel for delivery within three months inched up 1% to $20,458 per ton on LME. Nickel inventories maintained by LME were down 0.5% to settle at 117,210 tonnes Thursday. Nickel faces support at $20,393, while resistance lies at $20,487.

Despite high price volatility, S&P raised its nickel price assumption for the remainder of 2010 and 2011. Although inventories remain high, consumption has strengthened in the past few months helped by strong demand from alloy makers, S&P said.


Zinc for delivery within three months increased 0.3% to $1,955 per ton trading on the LME. Zinc stockpiles added 1,950 tonnes to close at its 52-week high of 620,825 tonnes. Zinc has support at $1,950 and resistance at $1,964.

According to a World Bureau of Metals Statistics report, the global zinc demand for the first five months of 2010 included a higher-than-expected apparent demand, of which 41% came from China.


Lead was trading up 1.3% to $1,965 per ton on the LME. At the end of trading Thursday, lead inventories fell 425 tonnes to 184,200 tonnes. Lead faces support at $1,952 and resistance at $1,970.

As per a WBMS report, refined lead production in May 2010 stood at 752,300 tonnes and consumption stood at 742,500 tonnes.
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