* US equities market rises on Fed stimulus hopes
* US gold volume thin, set to hit lowest since April
* Volume low in CME's new 1,000-oz silver futures contract
* Coming up: U.S. CPI, housing starts Tuesday
(Adds hyperlink, market details, updates prices)
By Frank Tang and Veronica Brown
NEW YORK/LONDON, June 17 Gold fell around 0.5
percent in quiet trade on Monday as a Wall Street rally reduced
the need for safe-haven buying and investors awaited this week's
U.S. Federal Reserve meeting for signals on the central bank's
monetary stimulus plan.
Better-than-expected U.S. retail sales and jobs data
recently has fueled speculation that the Fed could announce a
scaling back of its $85 billion monthly mortgage-bond buyback at
the end of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday.
The S&P 500 stock index trimmed early gains but
stayed higher on traders' hopes that the Fed will reinforce its
commitment to support the economic recovery.
"With very few clear choices left for monetary growth, U.S.
equities continue to show resilience. This has kept the bear
alive in the precious metals market while physical demand
remains firm," said Carlos Perez-Santalla at brokerage Marex
Spot gold was down 0.6 percent to $1,381.95 an ounce
by 2:33 p.m. EDT (1833 GMT).
U.S. Comex gold for August delivery settled down
$4.50 at $1,383.10, with trading volume at 65,000 lots versus
its 30-day daily average of 217,000, preliminary Reuters data
Volume was on track to hit its lowest daily level since
April 1, Reuters data showed.
Silver fell 1.1 percent to $21.80 an ounce.
The CME Group's smaller silver contract, the physically
delivered 1,000-ounce silver futures, begin trading on Monday,
with total trading volume at 25 lots, according to CME's
website. (Link: link.reuters.com/myt88t)
Turnover of the benchmark 5,000-ounce Comex silver futures
was over 40,000 lots, below its 30-day average at 54,000,
preliminary Reuters data showed.
ALL EYES ON THE FED
Markets have been volatile since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke
said last month the bank could scale back its stimulus measures.
Since then, Fed officials have given conflicting signals.
"People are looking for more clarity - or not, as the case
may be - on whether the Fed starts to ease off the Quantitative
Easing bandwagon," SocGen analyst Robin Bhar said.
Most economists expect the Fed to scale back the size of its
bond purchases by year end.
Any slowdown in the bond-buying program could lead to higher
interest rates and drive investors from gold into
interest-bearing investments and equities.
In the physical market, demand in Asia has cooled from peak
levels seen after the mid-April selloff in gold, dealers said.
Bullion is down 17 percent for the year to date after 12 years
of annual gains.
Indian purchases of gold have fallen since an import duty
increased earlier this month. The government is trying to narrow
its current account deficit by reducing gold imports.
Among platinum group metals, platinum was down 1.1
percent to $1,429.74 and palladium dropped 2.3 percent to
2:33 PM EDT LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT
SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL
US Gold AUG 1383.10 -4.50 -0.3 1379.80 1391.40 62,109
US Silver JUL 21.758 -0.196 -0.9 21.605 22.060 28,484
US Plat JUL 1434.80 -12.60 -0.9 1432.00 1454.20 9,972
US Pall SEP 717.85 -13.85 -1.9 713.85 733.40 3,695
Gold 1381.95 -8.25 -0.6 1381.28 1391.61
Silver 21.800 -0.240 -1.1 21.720 22.050
Platinum 1429.74 -15.26 -1.1 1435.50 1452.25
Palladium 712.47 -17.03 -2.3 716.00 730.04
TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY
CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG
US Gold 65,190 216,692 181,429 20.98 -0.13
US Silver 40,924 54,359 56,475 30.05 -2.23
US Platinum 13,607 12,505 11,703 22.59 0.31
US Palladium 3,714 6,357 5,583
(Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore;
Editing by Anthony Barker, Bob Burgdorfer and Jim Marshall)