* Benchmark copper for March delivery HGH0 ended up 1.05cents at $3.1385 a lb on the New York Mercantile Exchange'sCOMEX division.
* Range ran from $3.1540 to $3.1030, its lowest level sinceDec. 10.
* Copper market building a base around the $3.10 area -Frank Cholly, senior market strategist with Lind-Waldock.
* COMEX estimated futures volume at 17,776 lots by 1 p.m.EST (1800 GMT). Final volume on Thursday hit 23,662 lots. * Open interest down 1,493 lots at 147,321 contracts openas of Dec. 17. * Copper up in sympathy with precious metals and energycomplexes, as well as slightly positive tone in equities -Cholly. * Copper gains buck bearish impact of stronger dollar,which was on track for its biggest weekly gain against the eurosince April. [USD/] * London Metal Exchange copper warehouse stocks addedanother 1,775 tonnes to an eight-month peak at 476,350 tonnes.<0#LME-STOCKS> * Deliverable copper inventories in warehouses monitored bythe Shanghai Futures Exchange jumped 9 percent to 104,377tonnes from 95,676 tonnes a week earlier. [ID:nBJD003338] * COMEX copper warehouse stocks jumped 1,616 short tons to96,105 short tons as of Thursday. CMWSU * Copper supported by news of impending strike action byunion workers at Chile's Altonorte copper smelter after theyrejected a wage offer from owner Xstrata (XTA.L).[ID:nN17186419] * LME three-month copper MCU3 untraded at the close, butbid at $6,845 a tonne from $6,870 on Thursday.(Reporting by Chris Kelly)