PRECIOUS-Gold heads for third weekly drop, firm equities weigh

Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:00pm EDT

SINGAPORE, April 12 (Reuters) - Gold was barely changed on
Friday, but was on track for a third straight weekly drop as
strong stock markets lured investors seeking better returns
while outflows from exchange-traded funds reflected the precious
metal's shaky outlook.
       
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Gold was steady at $1,560.86 an ounce by 0040 GMT  
after falling to its weakest in nearly a week on Thursday. 
    * The prices, which were headed for a more than 1 percent
drop this week, have slipped around 7 percent so far this year
after posting annual gains in the past 12 years.
    * U.S. gold for June delivery was at $1,561.10 an
ounce, down $3.80.
    * SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.18 percent to
1,181.42 tonnes on Thursday from 1,183.53 tonnes on Wednesday.
 
    * Heavily indebted euro zone nations such as Italy and
Portugal could come under pressure to put their bullion reserves
to work as a result of plans for Cyprus to sell gold to meet its
financing needs. 
    * Fallout from the messy bailout of Cyprus will top the
agenda of a two-day EU finance ministers meeting in Dublin
beginning on Friday, with focus also on growing German
reluctance over euro zone banking reform. 
    * A Pentagon spy agency concluded for the first time that
North Korea likely has the ability to launch nuclear-armed
missiles, illustrating the high stakes surrounding the
escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
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    MARKET NEWS
    * Asian shares crept higher and the yen faced fresh lows on
Friday as the Bank of Japan's liquidity injections and Wall
Street's record-high close overnight continued to underpin
investor confidence. 
    * U.S. stocks rose for a fourth straight day on Thursday,
sending the Dow and the S&P 500 to new closing highs as positive
data on the labour market and an encouraging retail outlook
eased recent concerns about economic growth. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
    0530 India Industrial output 
    0645 France Current account 
    0900 Euro zone Industrial output 
    1230 U.S. Producer prices 
    1230 U.S. Retail sales 
    1355 U.S. Univ of Michigan sentiment index 
    1400 U.S. Business inventories 
    1630 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks  
    N/A Euro zone finance ministers meet in Dublin
   
    PRICES    
  Precious metals prices 0040 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1560.86    0.12   +0.01     -6.79
  Spot Silver        27.66    0.06   +0.22     -8.65
  Spot Platinum    1525.99   -6.01   -0.39     -0.59
  Spot Palladium    726.47   -1.53   -0.21      4.98
  COMEX GOLD JUN3  1561.10   -3.80   -0.24     -6.84         1965
  COMEX SILVER MAY3  27.62   -0.08   -0.30     -8.65          263
  Euro/Dollar       1.3110
  Dollar/Yen         99.64
 
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
 
 (Reporting by Lewa Pardomuan; Editing by Himani Sarkar)