Copper prices fell Monday as new concerns the Greek debt crisis overshadowed improvements in U.S. manufacturing, auto sales and construction spending.
Copper ended the day down less than 1 percent. Investors were encouraged by the economic data but kept most of their focus on broader concerns about the U.S. and European economies and China's growth. Other commodities were mostly lower, with the exception of gold, silver and wheat.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group, said its manufacturing index rose to 51.6 in September. Measures of production and exports grew but a gauge of new orders was unchanged.
Builders spent more on homes, office buildings and other projects in August after a big decline in July, according to the Commerce Department. The industry remains below levels considered healthy. Auto sales also rose in September, largely because consumers bought more pickups and SUVs.
The reports were released after Greece said it will miss deficit reduction targets it agreed to as part of an deal to receive another round of emergency funding. That is creating more pressure on European leaders to resolve the crisis.
"The macroeconomic situation continues to be ... the prevailing factor in this market," said Dave Meger, vice president of metals trading at Vision Financial Markets.
"You'll see tidbits that change the picture slightly but, all in all, it's the same focus on the economy, focus on European sovereign debt, focus on concerns about China's growth," he said.
Copper for December delivery fell 0.15 cent to end at $3.1505 a pound after earlier falling as low as $2.99 a pound. January platinum fell $6.50 to finish at $1,517.10 an ounce and December palladium dropped $20.80 to $593.75 an ounce.
Gold and silver both increased. Investors consider them relatively stable assets during times of economic uncertainty. December gold rose $35.40 to end at $1,657.70 an ounce and December silver increased 71.2 cents to $30.795 an ounce.
CPM Group analyst Carlos Sanchez said he expects gold to range between $1,600 an ounce and $2,000 an ounce for the rest of the year as leaders around the world work to improve their economies.
In other trading, oil fell to the lowest price of the year. Benchmark oil fell $1.59 to end at $77.61 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Heating oil fell 2.64 cents to finish at $2.7529 per gallon, gasoline futures fell 2.71 cents to $2.511 per gallon and natural gas fell 4.9 cents to $3.617 per 1,000 cubic feet.
December wheat rose 10.25 cents to finish at $6.195 per bushel, December corn was unchanged at $5.925 per bushel and November soybeans fell 1.5 cents to $11.775 per bushel.
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