* Data pointing to global econ/commodity demand growth
* Biggest weekly gain in copper since week of April 4.
* Coming up: U.S. May housing starts on Wednesday (Changes headline, updates with New York closing copper price, adds New York dateline/byline and analyst comments)
By Chris Kelly and Michael Taylor
NEW YORK/LONDON, June 11 (Reuters) - Copper retreated from one-week highs on Friday, but still managed to score its largest weekly gain since early April, as demand expectations rose on generally positive macro readings in the United States and China -- the world's top 2 consumers.
Copper for July delivery HGN0 on the New York Mercantile Exchange's COMEX division peaked at $2.9450, its loftiest level since June 4, before ending up 4.15 cents at $2.9040 per lb.
On the London Metal Exchange, benchmark copper for three-month delivery CMCU3 touched a one-week high at $6,545 a tonne, and ended up $69 at $6,479.
Investors turned their focus to a survey of U.S. consumer sentiment in early June, which rose to its strongest level since March 2008. The surprisingly strong data suggested the economic recovery in the world's largest economy remained on track, and helped ease earlier jitters over an unexpected drop in U.S. May retail sales. [ID:nN11114277]
In China, a slowdown in the rate of copper imports in May and a moderation in its industrial output and fixed-asset investment growth was not enough to dampen a seemingly bullish change in sentiment this week. [ID:nTOE657073] [ID:nTOE65A019]
"After frenzied talk of doom and gloom last week, it seems that markets are again expecting the global economy and commodity demand to grow," said Bart Melek, Global Commodity Strategist with BMO Nesbitt Burns in a market commentary.
Bill O'Neill, partner of LOGIC Advisors in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, agreed.
"All you have been hearing is that China is in this great slowdown mode ... they may have slowed down from the peak, but the growth rates are still very impressive," he said.
"I think the demand from China, and the rest of Asia, is going to continue to be very strong, especially for industrial metals."
Uncertainty regarding euro zone debt and worries about sovereign default have weighed on copper, down about 17 percent so far this quarter.
"There was an exaggerated, very pessimistic economic scenario that had been priced into base metals," said Gayle Berry, analyst at Barclays Capital.
"Now you're beginning to see some of those declines being reversed because the market has realized it had became overly pessimistic based on current fundamentals," she added.
EYE ON STOCKS
Falling stocks of copper have also helped support prices.
Copper inventories in LME warehouses fell by 1,400 tonnes to 465,000 tonnes -- down from 555,075 tonnes in mid-February, its highest level since October 2003.
Aluminum CMAL3 closed at $1,945 a tonne versus a quote at $1,949/$1,950 on Thursday. LME stocks for the metal fell 6,600 tonnes to 4.49 million tonnes, down from record highs above 4.6 million tonnes touched in late January.
Nickel stocks fell 852 tonnes to levels not seen since November at 133,794 tonnes.
For a graphic:here
A rise in canceled warrants -- metal already earmarked for delivery -- on stocks in LME warehouses are also being watched for signs of improving demand.
On Thursday, lead canceled warrants rose to their highest level since January 2004 at 18,250 tonnes, while aluminum hit a 2010 high at 321,075 tonnes.
A lot of canceled warrants on lead stocks were for U.S. warehouses, with analysts suggesting a surge in battery restocking for the warmer summer season was unfolding.
Lead CMPB3 ended down $14 at $1,670 per tonne, while nickel CMNI3 jumped $600 to close at $19,545.
Zinc CMZN3 rose $20 to finish at $1,740 a tonne, while tin CMSN3 dipped $100 to end at $16,550. Metal Prices at 1951 GMT Metal Last Change Pct Move End 2009 Ytd Pct
move COMEX Cu 292.35 1.95 +0.67 334.65 -12.64 LME Alum 1935.00 8.00 +0.42 2230.00 -13.23 LME Cu 6455.00 45.00 +0.70 7375.00 -12.47 LME Lead 1675.00 -9.00 -0.53 2432.00 -31.13 LME Nickel 19450.00 505.00 +2.67 18525.00 4.99 LME Tin 16650.00 0.00 +0.00 16950.00 -1.77 LME Zinc 1735.00 15.00 +0.87 2560.00 -32.23 SHFE Alu 14565.00 160.00 +1.11 17160.00 -15.12 SHFE Cu* 51450.00 760.00 +1.50 59900.00 -14.11 SHFE Zin 14295.00 175.00 +1.24 21195.00 -32.55 ** Benchmark month for COMEX copper * 3rd contract month for SHFE AL, CU and ZN
SHFE ZN began trading on 26/3/07
(Additional reporting by Pratima Desai; Editing by Sue Thomas and Sofina Mirza-Reid)