PRECIOUS-Gold eases, pressured by Greek aid worry, weak equities

Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:31pm EST

* US gold futures volume strong on rollover, options expiry
    * EU finmin, IMF seek to agree on unfreezing Greek aid
    * Safe-haven bids on potential Greek default could boost
gold

 (Adds markets details, updates prices)
    By Frank Tang
    NEW YORK, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Gold eased on Monday, tracking
weaker equities and commodities, as investors turned their focus
back to euro zone talks on aid to Greece.
    Bullion traded in a range of just $7, one of the narrowest
of the year, after rallying on Friday to its highest point in
more than a month.
    Traders are slowly returning from the U.S. Thanksgiving Day
holiday last week, and volatility in outside markets dropped. 
    Analysts said the gold market could benefit if the
International Monetary Fund and the euro zone cannot reach an
agreement to shore up debt-stricken Greece with much needed
cash.
    Volume was higher than usual for a second straight session, 
largely because of contract rollover ahead of COMEX December
option expiration Tuesday and the December contract's
first-notice day Friday, traders said. 
    "Most of the activity came from CTAs (Commodity Trading
Advisors) and hedge funds who were either adding to longs or
reversing their shorts. It seems that the expectations for the
Fed's planned actions are stronger now than they had been before
the election," said Carlos Perez-Santalla, a broker at PVM
Futures.
    Turnover had been quiet in the last month as gold's rally
appeared to fade after the Federal Reserve said in September it
would keep pumping stimulus money until the job market showed
marked improvement.
    Spot gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,749.14 by 2:49 p.m.
EST (1949 GMT), near Friday's high of $1,754.10, its loftiest
price since Oct. 12. 
    U.S. COMEX gold futures for December delivery settled
down $1.80 an ounce at $1,749.60, with trading volume about 20
percent above its 250-day average, preliminary Reuters data
showed.
    Some investors took profits after a 1.5 percent rally,
considered a technical breakout by analysts, which lifted
bullion above its 50-day moving average.
    
    GREECE, EURO ZONE CRISIS IN FOCUS
    The S&P 500 index and crude oil both fell due to
European debt jitters. Euro zone finance ministers and the IMF
made their third attempt in as many weeks to agree on releasing
emergency aid for Greece on Monday, with policymakers saying a
write-down of Greek debt is off the table for now.
 
    "A failure to strike a deal in the coming days could trigger
a Greek default, raising again the question of a Greek exit
(from the euro zone) and potentially seriously endangering the
resolution of the euro area crisis," Barclays strategists said
in a note.   
    Among other precious metals, silver inched up 10
cents to $34.11 an ounce. Spot platinum was down 0.4
percent at $1,609 an ounce, while spot palladium edged
down 0.3 percent at $659.97 an ounce.
 2:49 PM EST     LAST/    NET   PCT      LOW    HIGH  CURRENT
                SETTLE   CHNG  CHNG                       VOL
 US Gold DEC   1749.60  -1.80  -0.1  1746.00 1752.30  140,123
 US Silver DEC  34.137  0.021   0.1   33.885  34.225   60,938
 US Plat JAN   1611.00  -6.10  -0.4  1605.60 1623.70    6,513
 US Pall DEC    661.20  -6.40  -1.0   659.00  671.35    4,707
                                                               
 Gold          1749.14  -3.25  -0.2  1746.53 1752.50         
 Silver         34.110  0.010   0.0   33.920  34.210
 Platinum      1609.00  -5.70  -0.4  1606.50 1618.50
 Palladium      659.97  -2.03  -0.3   662.50  669.00
                                                               
 TOTAL MARKET              VOLUME          30-D ATM VOLATILITY
                CURRENT   30D AVG  250D AVG   CURRENT     CHG
 US Gold        211,638   158,009   175,640     13.05   -0.12
 US Silver       98,305    47,469    56,185     21.02    0.98
 US Platinum      6,812     8,722     9,483     18.28    0.35
 US Palladium     7,877     4,560     4,587                  
                                                               
 

 (Additional reporting by David Brough in London; editing by Jim
Marshall)
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