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Oil prices firm as Iraq tensions escalate, shares extend rally

TOKYO Oil prices held firm on Tuesday after Iraqi forces seized the oil-rich city of Kirkuk from largely autonomous Kurdish fighters while Asian shares look set to extend their bull run on optimism about upcoming earnings.

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METALS-Copper hovers near 3-yr top as China growth supports

London copper paused for breath near three-year highs on Tuesday as it faced headwinds from a stronger dollar, but renewed optimism over China's economic outlook has lent support to prices. FUNDAMENTALS * LME COPPER: London Metal Exchange copper was little changed at $7,128 a tonne by 0125 GMT, following its biggest daily jump in eight months at 3.7 percent on Monday. Prices struck $7,177 a tonne in the previous session, the highest since July

PRECIOUS-Gold prices hold steady amid firm dollar

Gold prices were steady early on Tuesday, after dipping below $1,300 an ounce in the previous session, as the dollar held firm on strong U.S. Treasury yields. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold was unchanged at $1,293.60 an ounce at 0055 GMT. It shed 0.8 percent in the previous session. * U.S. gold futures for December delivery fell 0.5 percent to $1,296 per ounce. * The dollar held gains against the yen and euro on Tuesday, supported

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