NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Base metals are likely to trade on a softer note Monday mainly due to pressure from lower London Metal Exchange prices and a weaker Chinese market. Better new-home sales data from the U.S. might cushion the base metals.The European bank stress tests results minimized worries with regards to the region's financial system and helped push U.S. equities higher. As the tests showed that 84 of the 91 lenders passed the examination, the euro advanced and the dollar declined. Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg, out of the total 149 companies that reported earnings in the last two weeks almost 85% have exceeded market expectations for earnings per share and almost 70% have topped sales estimates. Economic data releases lined up for the day include U.S. new-home sales for June which are estimated to come in at 311,000 against 300,000 recorded in May. Also, the Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity is expected to be negative 2.5% for the July as compared to negative 4% reported in June. Copper Copper for delivery within three months dropped 0.6% to $6,985 on the London Metal Exchange. Copper inventories maintained by LME reversed their trend and added 3,125 tonnes to close at 419,650 tonnes Friday. Copper faces support at $6,974 and resistance at $7,038. Copper prices, which were at their highest level in more than two months, couldn't sustain the level as a fall in China's equities after a six-day rally weakened metals demand and the global economy. The equities were dragged down mainly by lenders and developers on worries that banks would not recoup all their loans to the local government. Major copper producers in the world are trading very close to their resistance levels. Southern Copper ( SCCO), which closed at $33.44 in the previous trading session, has support at $31.28, while resistance lies at $32.50. Meanwhile, Teck Resources ( TCK) closed at $35.66 with support and resistance at $34.95 and $36.14, respectively. Aluminum Aluminum for delivery within three months inched up 0.2% at $2,033 per ton in the early hours of trading on the LME Monday. At the end of the week, LME inventories reduced 5,975 tonnes to 4.41 million tonnes. Support and resistance for aluminum stands at $2,029 and $2,041 respectively.
According to the Aluminum Association, the annual rate of primary U.S. aluminum production was up 7.3% to 1.72 million tonnes in June as compared to 1.60 million tonnes in June 2009. However, sequentially the production edged down 1%. Alcoa ( AA) ended trading Friday at $11.05, close to its resistance of $11.22 after which is technically seen to be crossing $11.40. Its support lies at $10.77. Century Aluminum ( CENX) closed at $10.75 with support and resistance at $10.24 and $11.01 respectively. Kaiser Aluminum ( KALU) closed at $40.59 with support at $39.85 and resistance at $41.01. Nickel Nickel for delivery within three months remained relatively flat at $20,330 per ton in the early hours of trading on LME. Nickel inventories maintained by LME were down 0.3% to settle at 116,814 tonnes Friday. Nickel is expected to trade sideways and faces support at $20,263, while resistance lies at $20,497. The Russian government is considering buying a stake in Norilsk Nickel as the company's two largest shareholders are in an ownership battle. However, both government officials and company spokesperson have declined to comment on the issue. Maxim Sokov, Rusal's head of strategy, said "the Norilsk stake is a strategic asset and there are no plans to sell it." Zinc Zinc for delivery within three months was up 0.7% to $1,920 per ton in the early hours of trading on the LME. Zinc stockpiles shed down marginally to close at 620,775 tonnes. Zinc has support at $1,915 and resistance at $1,934. Nyrstar, the world's largest zinc producer, purchased two other mines in Peru for almost $39 million taking the total count to four indicating strong demand for the metal over the long term. Meanwhile, the company added that it plans to triple annual output to 40,000 metric tonnes by 2012. Lead Lead shed 0.5% to $1,970 per ton in early hours of trading on the LME. At the end of the week's trading, lead inventories fell by 975 tonnes to 183,225 tonnes. Lead faces support at $1,964 and resistance at $1,976.