PRECIOUS-Gold down but off two-week low, EU debt crisis eyed
* Gold hits two-week low, dollar gain weighs * Development in euro zone debt crisis in focus * Gold ETF hit record, new inflows seen into New York fund * Coming up: U.S. jobless claims on Thursday (Recasts, updates comment, market activity, changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON) By Frank Tang NEW YORK, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices ended down on Wednesday but off an earlier two-week low as a stronger dollar and weaker crude oil triggered profit-taking after bullion's recent sharp rally boosted by stimulus by central banks around the world. The metal was weighed down by gains in the U.S. dollar after data showed new U.S. home sales held near two-year highs in August and prices vaulted to their highest in more than five years. Bullion has extended its losses to a third straight day. It is still 3.5 percent higher for the month following a sharp rally on hopes the central banks will keep the credit flowing by offering bullion-friendly stimulus. On Tuesday, gold fell as large-scale protests against anti-austerity measures in Spain rekindled fears about the European Union's three-year-old debt crisis. "Investors will be keeping a close eye on the events in the EU," said Sean Lusk, precious metals analyst at futures brokerage Ironbeam. "As we are at the month- and quarter-end, today's selloff probably encompassed some profit taking in the precious metals," Lusk said. Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at $1,751.50 an ounce by 3:51 p.m. EDT (1951 GMT), recovering from a two-week low reached earlier in the session at $1,737.50 an ounce. U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled down $12.80 at $1,753.60, with trading volume about 10 percent above its 250-day average. Worries over the euro zone debt crisis, as Greece faced its biggest anti-austerity strike for months and Spain's central bank suggested the country's recession was deepening, also knocked European shares and crude oil futures sharply lower. GOLD INVESTMENT FIRMS Investment in gold has been firm, with holdings of gold-backed exchange-traded funds rising by nearly 300,000 ounces on Tuesday, according to Reuters data, to a record 74.063 million ounces, with most fresh flows moving into the SPDR Gold Trust. Silver rose 0.7 percent to $33.93 an ounce. Spot platinum was up 0.5 percent at $1,628.20 an ounce, while palladium was down 1.1 percent at $624 an ounce. Platinum prices have retreated from the 6-1/2-month highs they hit this month after violence linked to labor unrest at a mine operated by number three producer Lonmin in South Africa led to 45 deaths. 3:51 PM EDT LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL US Gold DEC 1753.60 -12.80 -0.7 1738.30 1768.40 177,268 US Silver DEC 33.94 -0.008 0.0 33.360 34.110 46,162 US Plat OCT 1634.40 2.60 0.2 1612.30 1636.20 10,535 US Pall DEC 625.85 -15.00 -2.3 617.45 640.95 3,991 Gold 1751.50 -8.54 -0.5 1738.48 1765.40 Silver 33.930 0.230 0.7 33.380 34.040 Platinum 1628.20 7.70 0.5 1616.25 1633.00 Palladium 624.00 -7.20 -1.1 619.77 638.25 TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG US Gold 196,471 153,788 183,917 16.65 -0.54 US Silver 48,275 59,146 52,839 35.84 7.55 US Platinum 22,355 20,017 9,400 22.75 -0.90 US Palladium 4,020 8,643 4,663 (Additional reporting by Jan Harvey in London; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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