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Copper prices rise slightly on home sales report

By SANDY SHORE
AP Business Writer

Copper prices rose slightly Wednesday after a report on U.S. home sales offered some signs that the market is slowing getting better.

Copper finished up less than 1 percent on what proved to be a quiet day for most commodities trading without significant economic news to move the market.

Sales of previously occupied homes fell slightly in February to 4.59 million from 4.63 million in January, the National Association of Realtors said. The two months still made up the best winter for sales of previously occupied homes in five years.

Yet, there is still some distance yet to cover. Economists say sales of previously occupied homes must be about 6 million for the market to be considered healthy.

The news is positive for copper because the metal is used in a wide variety of products, including wires and pipes for construction. Copper for May delivery rose 1.5 cents to finish at $3.8455 per pound. The price is up about 12 percent this year.

AP Business Writer Derek Kravitz also contributed to this report.

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