LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Copper eased on Wednesday as a looming options expiry sparked some losses, although a recovery in stock markets after their recent steep slide supported the broader base metals complex. Traders of LME calls and puts, the right to buy or sell a contract at a fixed price later, have to decide whether to exercise their options on the first Wednesday of each month. Their ability to make a profit on those positions depends on the price of the underlying asset, meaning trading tends to be volatile around options expiry. „It’s quite a big day for options – there are some fairly chunky strikes on copper around the $7,000 level, so that is accounting for the unexplained volatility in copper this morning,“ Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar. The recovery in stock markets on Wednesday should be broadly supportive of metals, he added, though lead is falling as some holders cashed in gains after the metal rallied to a 6-1/2 year high late last week. „Lead was the outlier last week – everything was steady, but lead was gaining a lot,“ he said. „If you are looking to liquidate ahead of Chinese New Year, you will liquidate where you have made a profit, and that would be… lead.“ * LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.4 percent at $7,050.50 a tonne at 1025 GMT. It fell 1.3 percent on Tuesday. * FINANCIAL MARKETS: World stocks clawed their way back from two-month lows on Wednesday, though momentum was weak and U.S. futures suggested Wall Street could lapse back into losses after rebounding from the biggest selloff in six years. * ALUMINIUM: LME aluminium was up 0.5 percent at $2,180.50 a tonne. It earlier matched the previous session’s three-week low of $2,170 a tonne. * ALUMINIUM SPREAD: The premium for cash aluminium over three-month aluminium rose to $2.75 a tonne, its highest since August, from a discount of $12.50 a tonne at the start of the year. Tightness was seen in the spread between the February and March contracts, traders said. * SHANGHAI ALUMINIUM: Shanghai’s most traded aluminium contract ended down 0.5 percent at 14,205 yuan a tonne for its lowest close since January 2017. The metal is now down 6.9 percent year-to-date, putting smelter margins under pressure, as Chinese inventories continue to hit record highs. * LEAD PRICES: LME lead bucked the broader trend across the base metals to fall for a third day, and was down 1.2 percent at $2,590 a tonne. It hit its highest since July 2011 last week at $2,885 a tonne. * LEAD STOCKS: Stocks of lead held in LME-registered warehouses fell another 1,375 tonnes to their lowest since late 2015, exchange data showed. * OTHER METALS: LME zinc was up 0.2 percent at $3,464 a tonne, while nickel was 0.6 percent higher at $13,470 a tonne and tin was up 0.5 percent at $21,835.