BOOST COPPER FUTURESComex copper futures were trading higher in the active months Wednesday with stop-loss buying stretching earlier gains.

On New York's Commodity Exchange Inc., May copper closed up 460 points at 117.30 cents. The March contract ended 600 points higher at 125 cents.

Indications that strike negotiations with southern Peru miners are more difficult than first expected and the "beige book" report showing an improving U.S. economy gave underlying support for early gains, analysts said.

Far East buying interest in the London market, which helped boost prices there, was a strong factor in the high price gains here as well, one

commission-house analyst said.

Heavy stops were touched off as the bullish news drove prices up through the 115- to 116-cent level, basis May, he said.



WASHINGTON - House Agriculture Committee Chairman Kika de la Garza Wednesday said that the Department of Agriculture should not wait until completion of the 1990 farm bill to hold another sign-up of the conservation reserve program.

In response to a question during a morning press conference, Rep. de la Garza, D-Texas, said the USDA should schedule a 10th sign-up period under the conditions of the 1985 farm law, and not wait until work on the 1990 farm bill is done as USDA Secretary Clayton Yeutter has said he would do.

Under the program, the government pays annual rental fees to farmers who agree to idle and develop conservation plans for highly erodible cropland. The government pays part of the costs of implementing the plans. So far, about 34 million acres have been idled in nine previous sign-ups.

Rep. de la Garza said that there was no reason for the USDA to wait to conduct a 10th sign-up, and said it should continue enrollment in the program within the existing budget.