Global stocks gained after the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged more than 1,000 points for the first time on Wednesday following a report that holiday sales were the strongest in years.
"It seems like sentiment in the markets overall is bearish, but I think we just saw some short-covering yesterday, which is unlikely to last long," said Carsten Menke, commodities research analyst at Julius Baer in Zurich.
"It's 'metals-light' growth -- consumption in the United States rather than construction in China, which is what we're looking for in 2019, so there's really no reason to become optimistic for base metals."
Earnings at China's industrial firms in November dropped for the first time in nearly three years, data showed on Thursday, in a sign of rising risks to the world's second-largest economy.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.8 percent at $6,003.50 a tonne by 1050 GMT, after hitting $5,941 a tonne on Monday, its weakest since Sept. 18.
The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.7 percent to 48,280 yuan ($7,004.11) a tonne.
* NICKEL: A global nickel market deficit will nearly halve to 49,000 tonnes in 2019 from 93,000 tonnes this year on higher output of primary metals by global suppliers and of lower-grade nickel pig iron (NPI) in Indonesia, Sumitomo Metal Mining said on Tuesday.
LME nickel shed 1.2 percent to $10,755 a tonne after touching $10,715, the weakest since October 2017.
* RUSAL: Russian aluminum company Rusal said that board chairman Matthias Warnig resigned as part of a restructuring it agreed to implement in exchange for a waiver from U.S. sanctions.
The move to lift Rusal sanctions has weighed on prices due to concern about additional supply. LME aluminum slipped 0.6 percent to $1,881 a tonne after touching $1,879, the lowest since June 2017.
* COPPER STOCKS: On-warrant LME copper inventories <MCUSTX-TOTAL> have gained 43 percent so far in December, data showed on Thursday, indicating better availability of supply. ($1 = 6.8931 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Eric , editing by Louise Heavens)