(Recasts to show copper prices down)
By James Regan
SYDNEY, May 31 (Reuters) - Copper prices contracted in late Asian trade on Wednesday after rising earlier in the session on better-than-expected manufacturing data from China.
Early gains led investors to lock in profits, putting pressure on copper prices ahead of the active London trading session, according to traders.
Growth in China's manufacturing sector in May kept pace with the previous month, an official survey showed on Wednesday, beating expectations in a reassuring sign the world's second-biggest economy is not losing too much steam after a solid first quarter performance.
"The PMI suggests an easing of downward pressure on growth," said Shaw and Partners analyst Peter O'Connor.
* COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.2 percent at $5,655 a tonne, as of 0732 GMT.
* SHANGHAI: The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended 1.78 percent lower at 45,230 yuan ($6,631) a tonne.
* NICKEL: Upbeat China data did little to help nickel, as the metal prices dropped to their lowest close since June 2016.
Three-month nickel fell 3 percent to $8,860 a tonne. ShFE nickel closed 3.4 percent lower.
* CHINA PMI: The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 51.2 in May, compared with the previous month's 51.2 and above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
* COPPER STOCKS: Prices were supported by a drop in on-warrant stocks available to the market in LME-registered warehouses, falling to 153,500 tonnes after 7,625 tonnes of cancellations. On-warrant stocks have decreased by a third since mid-April. MCUSTX-TOTAL
* ALUMINIUM PREMIUMS: A global aluminium producer has offered Japanese buyers a premium of $123 per tonne for July-September primary metal shipments, down 4 percent from the current quarter.
* HINDALCO PROFIT UP: Hindalco Industries Ltd, India's biggest producer of aluminium and copper, posted a 26 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit as revenue from operations increased on higher base metal prices.
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
($1 = 6.8210 Chinese yuan)
Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin and Sherry Jacob-Phillips