By James Regan
SYDNEY, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Most Chinese base metals futures were mixed on Monday as investors took profits following hefty gains last week.
Metals linked with steel markets - nickel, zinc and lead - recorded the biggest losses, with copper only barely in positive territory.
"We're seeing a pullback from last week in step with steel, and with the LME (London Metal Exchange) closed, there's some loss in direction," a commodities trader in Sydney said.
Monday is a market holiday in Britain and the London Metal Exchange will be closed.
ZINC DOWN: The most traded Shanghai Futures Exchange zinc contract dropped 1 percent to 25,830 yuan ($3,890.24)a tonne by the close . Zinc is chiefly used in steel galvanising. ShFE Nickel fell 0.7 percent, while lead lost 1.7 percent. Nickel is used in stainless steel.
STEEL GAINS FADE: China's steel futures were on track for a steep fall on Monday, dragging down steelmaking raw materials, on technical selling and as investors took recent industry association and government statements as a cue to book profits.
SHFE COPPER: ShFE copper eked out a 0.9 percent gain, building on a robust demand outlook for the metal in China. But traders said the contract could face some resistance attempting to retrace Friday's intraday gains that swept the contract to its highest since March 2013.
COPPER INVENTORIES: Copper found support after data showed weekly copper stocks in warehouses registered by the Shanghai Futures Exchange declined by 8.2 percent to 187,444 tonnes CU-STX-SGH. Meanwhile, on-warrant inventories - those not earmarked for removal - in London Metal Exchange (LME) depots have halved to 112,950 tonnes over the past six weeks MCUSTX-TOTAL.
BHP POTASH: Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton is considering selling a 25 percent interest in its Canadian potash mine project, a stake that could be worth close to $2 billion, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Three month LME copper
Most active ShFE copper
Three month LME aluminium
Most active ShFE aluminium
Three month LME zinc
Most active ShFE zinc
Three month LME lead
Most active ShFE lead
Three month LME nickel
Most active ShFE nickel
Three month LME tin
Most active ShFE tin
ARBS ($1 = 6.6397 Chinese yuan)
Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin and Subhranshu Sahu