GLOBAL MARKETS-Copper and oil slide, world equities dip

Fri Jan 3, 2014 4:44pm EST

* Copper posts largest drop in a month, gold rises again
    * Snow-blasted Wall Street flat in low volume
    * Oil prices add to recent losses


    By Rodrigo Campos
    NEW YORK, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Copper futures dropped on Friday
on concerns over Chinese growth and as the U.S. dollar
strengthened, while crude oil extended recent losses and a
global gauge of equities drifted lower.
    Stocks were little changed on Wall Street, with low volume
due in part to a snowstorm that blanketed the U.S. Northeast
-including financial hubs New York and Boston.
    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. central
bank is committed to highly accommodative policy even after
deciding last month to trim its bond-buying stimulus. 
    European shares rose, bucking a wave of risk aversion that
swept across Asia, where stocks slid after a measure of activity
in China's services sector slipped in December to a four-month
low. 
    At the closing bell in New York, the Dow Jones industrial
average rose 28.64 points, or 0.17 percent, at 16,469.99.
The S&P 500 dipped 0.62 points, or 0.03 percent, at
1,831.36. The Nasdaq Composite fell 11.16 points, or
0.27 percent, at 4,131.91.
    The benchmark FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.5
percent, and MSCI's index of equities in 45 countries
 was down 0.16 percent.
    Three-month copper dropped 1.1 percent to $7,315 a
tonne in its largest daily drop since Dec. 2.
    "Chinese worries are playing into recent commodity
weakness," said Jim Russell, senior equities strategist at U.S.
Bank Wealth Management. "There is concern on the outlook for
2014, many think it will represent a step down in growth rate in
China as compared to recent years."
    He said strength in the U.S. dollar was also weighing
on parts of the commodities complex, including oil.
    Expectations for a rise in Libyan supply and speculation of
a buildup in U.S. stockpiles kept pressure on oil prices after
they tumbled Thursday. U.S. crude fell for a fourth
consecutive day and hit a one-month low, and Brent 
dipped after posting its largest daily drop since late June.
    "The sentiment is still bearish for sure, and I think Libya
is still going to be the key driving factor," said Amrita Sen,
chief analyst at consultants Energy Aspects.
    U.S. crude was recently down 1.4 percent at $94.15 a barrel,
and Brent fell 0.8 percent to $106.95.
    
 
    
    Spot gold rose for a fourth session to hit a two-week
high as weaker equities spurred demand for the metal as a
safe-haven asset. It was recently up 1 percent at $1,236.29 per
ounce.
    U.S. Bank's Russell said that after a 28 percent drop last
year some traders see value in gold, but "we think headwinds
remain in place." 

    GREENBACK HOLDS RECENT GAINS
    The yen was little changed near five-year lows against the
dollar. The greenback last traded flat against the Japanese
currency, at 104.78 yen, with a five-year high of 105.44
yen set Thursday in sight.
    The euro, the top-performing major currency of 2013, shed
0.6 percent against the yen, to 142.38 yen, following
Thursday's more than 1 percent slide.
    Against the dollar, the euro lost 0.6 percent to
$1.3591.
    "You have a holiday week, which is always going to be pretty
light on volume, and with most of the Northeast digging itself
out of the snowstorm that has made activity especially light,
even for a holiday week," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst
at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington, D.C.
    The greenback added 0.3 percent against a basket of
currencies.
    U.S. Treasuries prices ticked down, with benchmark 10-year
yields hovering near 3 percent, with no major
economic releases due and investors cautious heading into a busy
week that includes the release of December's payrolls report.
    The 10-year yield traded in its tightest range in three
weeks.
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