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METALS-Copper eases below $7,000 as stock markets stall

* Equities flatline after recent run of record highs

* GRAPHIC-2017 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

* LME/ShFE arb: http://bit.ly/2wZSAEz

(Updates with official prices) LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Copper eased below $7,000 a tonne on Wednesday as stock markets steadied after a series of record highs, pointing to a more cautious mood among investors. A firmer tone to the dollar, which hit a 3-1/2 month high versus the yen on reports that Republican senators are favouring a more hawkish candidate as the next Federal Reserve chief, also kept a lid on commodities prices. "We had some very good economic data, equity markets at record highs, (and) bond yields moving higher on the back of Trump's proposed tax cuts, so the funds jumped in and used copper to express a positive macro view," Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said. "That took copper above fundamentally justified levels." "It's going to continue to meet resistance around $7,000 and above and get rebuffed, but there will be dip buying by other specs and investors keeping it pretty stable," he added.

* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal

Exchange was untraded in official midday rings, and was

last bid at $6,990, down 0.2 percent. Earlier this month it hit a three-year high of $7,177 a tonne.

* U.S. DOLLAR: The dollar benefited from a report that Stanford University economist John Taylor, who favours higher interest rates, could be picked to head the Federal Reserve. A stronger dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

* COPPER DEFICIT: The copper market should see a deficit of 151,000 tonnes this year and a deficit of 104,000 tonnes in 2018, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) said on Tuesday.

* CHINA: A private coal mining industry investor in Shanxi province is said to be the main actor behind a dramatic increase in bullish bets in Chinese copper futures.

* TECHNICAL ANALYSIS: A break below $7,009 could cause a loss into the range of $6,924-$6,944, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

* ZINC BACKWARDATION: The premium of cash zinc over the three-month contract <MZN0-3> rose to $68.50, climbing back towards the 10-year high of $91 a tonne it hit two weeks ago. That may indicate shortages in immediately available supply.

* ZINC, LEAD PRICES: LME zinc was also untraded in official rings, and was last bid at $3,182 a tonne, up 0.2

percent. Lead was up 1 percent at $2,495 a tonne in

official midday trading.

* OTHER METALS: Other metals were also untraded in official

rings. LME nickel was last bid down 1 percent at $11,875

a tonne, while aluminium was last bid 0.1 percent higher at

$2,158 a tonne. Tin was down 0.4 percent at $19,700 a

tonne, off an earlier 10-week low of $19,500 a tonne.

(Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne, Tom Daly in Beijing, editing by David Evans)