METALS-LME copper slips; holds near 2-1/2-month top on US fiscal deal
* Metals consolidate after rallying on US "fiscal cliff" deal
* Shanghai market remains closed for holiday
* LME copper may retrace to $8,140/T - technicals
* Coming up: U.S. jobless claims, weekly; 1330 GMT
(Adds details, comments; updates prices) SINGAPORE, Jan 3 (Reuters) - London copper edged down on Thursday, but prices did not stray too far from a more than two-month top hit in the previous session as relief over a last-minute deal to avert a U.S. fiscal disaster continued to underpin prices. Commodities made a powerful start to the new year, with oil, gold and copper hitting multi-week highs on Wednesday after the U.S. Congress passed a bill that raises taxes on wealthy individuals and families, sparing middle- and low-income earners. "The sentiment on base metals is turning more positive, especially now the U.S. fiscal crisis has been kicked down the road," said Nick Trevethan, senior commodity strategist at ANZ in Singapore. President Barack Obama and Republicans face more fights in the next two months on spending cuts and an increase in the nation's debt limit. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange edged down 0.3 percent to $8,186 a tonne by 0257 GMT, after hitting a high of $8,204.75 earlier in the session - not far from a 2-1/2-month top of $8,255 hit on Wednesday. LME copper jumped more than 3 percent in the previous session, its biggest daily gain in more than three months. The Shanghai market remains closed on Thursday for a public holiday, and will resume trading on Friday. Technical analysis showed that LME copper could retrace to $8,140 a tonne after failing to break the resistance at $8,236, Reuters market analyst Wang Tao said.
Upbeat purchasing managers' index data for China's manufacturing and service sectors released over the past few days indicating a steady revival in growth in the world's No.2 economy and top consumer of copper also boosted the demand outlook for the metal. ANZ expected copper to rise to $8,600 by the end of the first half Of the year, Trevethan added. In other metals, LME aluminium, zinc and lead traded little changed, holding near the highs of Wednesday. LME nickel fell nearly half a percent to $17,640. LME tin fell 0.8 percent to $24,248, off a 10-1/2-month high of $24,510 hit in the previous session. LME copper stocks <MCUSTX-TOTAL> rose to an 11-month high of 320,500 tonnes by Dec. 31. Nickel stockpile <MNISTX-TOTAL> climbed to 141,690 tonnes, the highest since May, 2010.
Base metals prices at 0257 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg LME Cu 8186.00 -24.00 -0.29 3.24 HG COPPER MAR3 372.90 -0.70 -0.19 2.09 LME Alum 2158.25 -1.75 -0.08 4.21 LME Zinc 2140.75 -0.25 -0.01 3.74 LME Nickel 17640.00 -85.00 -0.48 2.83 LME Lead 2428.00 -2.00 -0.08 3.76 LME Tin 24248.00 -197.00 -0.81 3.62
COMEX contract shows most active month
(Editing by Himani Sarkar)