PRECIOUS-Gold inches up as sluggish data supports Fed's stimulus

Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:54pm EST

SINGAPORE, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Gold inched up on Friday,
extending gains from the previous session as lacklustre U.S.
data bolstered expectations that the Federal Reserve's monetary
stimulus would stay in place.
        
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold inched up 0.1 percent to $1,577.44 an
ounce by 0037 GMT, on course for a nearly 2 percent weekly
decline, its second week in the red.
    * U.S. gold was little changed at $1,577.50.
    * A raft of U.S. economic data on Thursday, from claims for
jobless aid to factory activity and consumer prices, pointed to
a still tepid recovery and supported the argument for the
Federal Reserve to maintain its monetary stimulus.
 
    * Two top Federal Reserve officials on Thursday signalled
support for scaling back the U.S. central bank's aggressive
bond-buying program, adding fuel to a contentious debate over
how long the Fed should continue its extraordinary measures to
support the economy. 
    * Thursday's Flash Eurozone Services PMI (purchasing
managers index) fell below expectations, suggesting the downturn
in the region's businesses worsened and dashing hopes that the
region's economy might soon emerge from recession.
 
    * Switzerland remained a net exporter of platinum and
palladium in January, continuing December's trend, data from the
Swiss customs bureau showed on Thursday. 
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, dropped 8.89 tonnes to
1,290.306 tonnes on Feb. 21, the lowest in more than five
months. The holdings have fallen more than 32 tonnes, or 2
percent, so far this week.
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    MARKET NEWS
    * U.S. stocks fell for a second straight day on Thursday and
the S&P 500 posted its worst two-day loss since November after
reports cast doubt over the health of the U.S. and euro-zone
economies. 
    * The dollar inched lower on Friday against a basket of
currencies, but remained near a 5-1/2-month top hit in the
previous session. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
 0130  China    Housing prices                     
 0700  Germany  Detailed Q4 GDP                    
 0900  Germany  Ifo business climate               
 1000  Italy    Consumer confidence                
    
    PRICES
     
 Precious metals prices 0037 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1577.44    1.78   +0.11     -5.80
  Spot Silver        28.72    0.08   +0.28     -5.15
  Spot Platinum    1619.24    8.50   +0.53      5.49
  Spot Palladium    732.47    4.00   +0.55      5.85
  COMEX GOLD APR3  1577.50   -1.10   -0.07     -5.87         2330
  COMEX SILVER MAR3  28.71    0.01   +0.02     -5.04          717
  Euro/Dollar       1.3190
  Dollar/Yen         93.19
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 

 (Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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