By David Hodari
LONDON--Metals markets were mixed Thursday, making small moves as the dollar paused and investors awaited fresh data on China's economy and the country's trade talks with the U.S.
Copper futures were up 0.2% at $5,967 a metric ton in late morning trade.
Gold, meanwhile, edged up 0.1% to $1,294.14 a troy ounce, having barely moved amid U.K. political uncertainty and a raft of other geopolitical headlines over recent days.
The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, was flat, hanging on to its 0.3% gains of the past five sessions.
Elsewhere in precious metals, palladium hit an all-time high, climbing 2.39% to $1,395 a troy ounce. While some analysts said the price jump was unjustified, others pegged the move to "hopes of a Chinese car-market-stimulus program," according to Norbert Rücker, head of macro and commodity research at Julius Baer in a note.
The palladium market also has limited liquidity, making it prone to sharp swings in prices, Mr. Rücker said.
But for the most part, metals markets were calm, with copper seemingly insulated from the recent crosswinds of weakening Chinese economic data and hopes for warming trade relations between the world's second-largest economy and the U.S. China accounts for about half of all metals demand.
With fundamentals within the copper market relatively balanced, "it's been very rangebound and to get it out of its range that hugs the $6,000-per-ton level, it'll take something big and probably macroeconomic," said Vivienne Lloyd, senior analyst at Macquarie. "It could be something like positive trade news, meaning that the Chinese economy will be stronger and a synaptic response from investors."
Investors were keeping an eye out for any further Chinese briefing on stimulus or economic targets, developments in the U.S. government shutdown and U.S. jobless figures due out later Thursday.
Among precious metals, silver was down 0.26% at $15.57 a troy ounce and platinum was up 0.25% at $805 a troy ounce.
Among base metals, aluminum was up 0.16% at $1,844.50 a metric ton, zinc was down 0.68% at $2,487 a metric ton, tin was up 0.44% at $20,615 a metric ton, nickel was down 0.95% at $11,495 a metric ton and lead was down 0.59% at $1,959.50 a metric ton.
Write to David Hodari at David.Hodari@wsj.com