PRECIOUS-Gold edges up, headed for worst week in a month

SINGAPORE, May 17 (Reuters) - Gold edged up on Friday as
stock markets paused after rally, but the metal was still on
track for its worst weekly decline in a month as investors cut
exposure to bullion, sending holdings in exchange-traded funds
to the lowest in four years. 

    * Spot gold was up 0.17 percent to $1,388.11 an ounce
by 0038 GMT, having fallen to a four-week low of $1,369.29 on
Thursday as renewed liquidation in gold ETFs and the recent drop
below the $1,400-per-ounce level spooked investors.
    * U.S. gold for June delivery was little changed at
    * SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.55 percent to
1041.42 tonnes on Thursday - the lowest in four years.

    * Premiums for gold bars rallied to all-time highs in Hong
Kong and Singapore on Thursday after bullion's steepest drop
since its April sell-off fuelled another round of buying that
constricted supply. 
    * Gold investment nearly halved in the first quarter as a
brighter view of the U.S. economy prompted investors in the West
to favour other assets, but Chinese coin and bar demand hit a
quarterly record of 109.5 tonnes, the World Gold Council said on
    *  Indian gold futures fell 1.5 percent on Thursday,
extending losses for a second straight session, to hit their
lowest level in nearly a month in line with global markets. 
    * The Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) will launch after-hours
trading for Fridays on May 31 as part of its efforts to help its
members better manage price risks, the bourse said in a
statement on Thursday. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
, or 

    * The Nikkei share average fell for a second day on Friday
as caution over the recent steep rises continued to spur
profit-taking, while a pullback in Wall Street soured investor
    * Global equity markets fell on Thursday after a regional
president of the Federal Reserve said the U.S. central bank
could begin to ease up on its loose monetary policy this summer,
leading the dollar to recover against the euro. 

    1355     U.S. TR/U Michigan sentiment index     
    1400     U.S. Leading indicators              

  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg   Volume
  Spot Gold        1388.11    2.42   +0.17    -17.10
  Spot Silver        22.67    0.01   +0.04    -25.13
  Spot Platinum    1479.99    0.99   +0.07     -3.58
  Spot Palladium    734.25   -1.75   -0.24      6.11
  COMEX GOLD JUN3  1386.70   -0.20   -0.01    -17.25        2478
  COMEX SILVER JUL3  22.63   -0.03   -0.13    -25.14         855
  Euro/Dollar       1.2884
  Dollar/Yen        102.21

  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months

PRECIOUS-Gold down 1.5 pct on Wall Street gains, economic hopes

Gold fell 1.5 percent on
Tuesday, its biggest one-day drop in more than a month, as
economic optimism lifted U.S. equities to near a record high and
weakened bullion's safe-haven appeal.
    Silver dropped almost 3 percent to an eight-month low, and
platinum group metals declined sharply, ignoring higher U.S.
auto sales results.
    Bullion's losses snowballed through the session as the U.S.
equities benchmark S&P 500 index climbed to within
striking distance of an all-time intraday high. 
    "The hot money is going toward the S&P 500 right now," said
Jeffrey Sica, chief investment officer of SICA Wealth
Management, which oversees more than $1 billion in assets.
    "There is an overwhelming sentiment that growth will remain
slow and not inflationary, and that has eliminated some of the
momentum investors in gold," Sica said.
    The gold market could take a cue from Friday's Labor
Department snapshot of the U.S. job market, also an important
gauge for Federal Reserve monetary policy. Signs of economic
improvement could prompt the Fed to halt its bullion-friendly
bond-buying program earlier than expected.
    Spot gold fell 1.4 percent to $1,575.41 by 3:28 p.m.
EST (1928 GMT), having earliest hit $1,573.39, its lowest price
since March 8.
    U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled down
$24.90 to $1,575.10 an ounce, with trading volume about 25
percent below the 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data
    U.S. equities rose 0.5 percent, led by healthcare stocks
after a government decision raised hopes of higher profits,
diverting investors' focus away from precious metals. 
    Easing euro zone fears after Cyprus clinched a $10 billion
international bailout last week also dampened safe-haven buying
in gold, analysts said.

    Silver extended losses a day after it had fallen 20 percent
from the high it set in October to be in a bear market.
    Silver earlier fell to its lowest level since
mid-August at $27.16 an ounce. It was later down 2.6 percent to
$27.29 an ounce.
    The metal, which surged to a record high near $50 in April
2011 and only to plummet two weeks later, tends to be more
speculative than gold and other precious metals.
    Platinum group metals have now digested the long-term
implication on demand after U.S. sales of sport-utility vehicles
and pickup trucks jumped in March. 
    More than half of the world's platinum and palladium output
are used by the auto industry as catalytic converters to clean
tailpipe exhaust fumes.
    Platinum was down 1.4 percent to $1,568.50 an ounce,
while palladium fell 1.6 percent to $766.75 an ounce.
 3:28 PM EST     LAST/    NET   PCT      LOW    HIGH  CURRENT
                SETTLE   CHNG  CHNG                       VOL
 US Gold APR   1575.10 -24.90  -1.6  1574.10 1602.60    2,235
 US Silver MAY  27.248 -0.696  -2.5   27.150  28.140   53,348
 US Plat APR   1571.80 -24.60  -1.5  1572.70 1595.80       75
 US Pall JUN    769.40 -14.55  -1.9   766.20  782.55    3,374

 Gold          1575.41 -22.99  -1.4  1573.39 1603.60         
 Silver         27.290 -0.720  -2.6   27.160  28.170
 Platinum      1568.50 -22.09  -1.4  1573.00 1594.00
 Palladium      766.75 -12.25  -1.6   769.52  779.75

 TOTAL MARKET              VOLUME          30-D ATM VOLATILITY
                CURRENT   30D AVG  250D AVG   CURRENT     CHG
 US Gold        160,849   210,333   172,285     13.49    0.31
 US Silver       65,785    56,448    54,663     20.53    2.03
 US Platinum      7,855    16,870    11,734     14.27    0.15
 US Palladium     3,408     7,344     7,471                  


PRECIOUS-Gold off 4-week low, firm equities likely to weigh

old bounced on Wednesday
after falling to its weakest in nearly four weeks in the
previous session, but gains look set to be capped by firm
equities and renewed optimism over the U.S. economy.

    * Gold added $1.17 to $1,576.41 an ounce by 0030 GMT.
Gold fell to $1,573.39 on Tuesday, its lowest since March 8, as
investors shifted to equities after the benchmark S&P 500 index
 climbed to within striking distance of an all-time
intraday high.
    * U.S. gold for June was steady at $1,576.80 an
    * Dealers were awaiting the release of the U.S. nonfarm
payrolls report on Friday to confirm market views the Federal
Reserve wants to maintain its extremely accommodative monetary
policy, which has underpinned investor sentiment and sharpened
risk appetite. 
    * U.S. inflation is low and expectations remain well
contained, allowing the Federal Reserve to keep up aggressive
monetary policy measures to spur growth, Charles Evans,
president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, said on
     * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
, or 

    * Japan's Nikkei share average rose on Wednesday, as gains
in Wall Street helped the market recover from losses of more
than 3 percent in the past two days, while the euro remained
pressured by concerns about bailout consequences in Cyprus and
weak euro zone economies.   
    * U.S. crude futures slipped in early Asian trading on
Tuesday after data showed an unexpected slowdown in U.S.
manufacturing and on expectations that oil inventories would
continue to rise in the world's largest energy consumer. 

    0900 Euro zone Flash inflation 
    1215 U.S. ADP employment report 
    1400 U.S. ISM non-manufacturing index 


  Precious metals prices 0036 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1576.41    1.17   +0.07     -5.86
  Spot Silver        27.21    0.01   +0.04    -10.14
  Spot Platinum    1568.75   -0.75   -0.05      2.20
  Spot Palladium    766.22    2.22   +0.29     10.73
  COMEX GOLD JUN3  1576.80    0.90   +0.06     -5.91         2803
  COMEX SILVER MAY3  27.18   -0.07   -0.27    -10.11         1052
  Euro/Dollar       1.2813
  Dollar/Yen         93.52

  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months