METALS-London copper hits two-week high on U.S. growth signals
SYDNEY Nov 17 (Reuters) - London copper touchest its highest level a fortnight on Monday in the afterglow of improving economic signals from the United States, although news that Japan fell into a surprise recession added a note of caution.
* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange climbed to its highest since Nov. 4 at $6,734 a tonne, before trading flat at $6704.25 a tonne by 0147 GMT from the previous session when it gained 0.8 percent.
* The most-traded January copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 1.1 percent to 47,660 yuan($7,781) a tonne, having also reached a two-week high.
* Most U.S. retailers reported strong sales in October, a sign that American consumers were spending with more gusto and could help keep the economy growing at a brisk pace.
* Japan's economy unexpectedly slipped into recession in the third quarter, setting the stage for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to delay an unpopular sales tax hike and call a snap election just two years after he took office.
* China's bank lending tumbled in October and money supply growth cooled, raising fears of a sharper slowdown in the economy and prompting some economists to urge the government to ratchet up stimulus measures, including cutting interest rates.
* Hedge funds and money managers in gold futures and options slashed their long bets for a third straight week to their least bullish in a month as gold prices tumbled, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday. They also cut their copper shorts. Continued...