* FOMC minutes due at 1800 GMT
* Markets also awaiting Fed’s Jackson Hole symposium
* SPDR Gold holdings up by about 17 tonnes so far in August (Updates prices)
Aug 21 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower on Wednesday as equities gained and investors awaited minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s July meeting for clues on future interest rate cuts.
Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,504.00 per ounce at 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT).
U.S. gold futures settled at $1,515.70.
“(Market participants) are just being cautious ahead of the FOMC minutes; they’re just taking gold off,” said Phillip Streible, senior commodities strategist at RJO Futures.
“There seem to be spouts of optimism as far as the trade deal and the economy go, and these glimmers of hope are driving a rally in equities and people are jumping out of safety to take on risk through equities.”
President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the United States is “doing great with China and other trade deals,” while pressuring the Fed to lower interest rates, saying its policies were hampering U.S. growth and reducing the country’s ability to compete economically.
Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s most recent meeting in July - when the U.S. central bank cut interest rates for the first time in a decade, by a quarter of a percentage point - are due at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT).
“If the FOMC doesn’t give any indication that they are considering cutting rates or doing any kind of quantitative easing, then gold futures will most likely continue to break down,” Streible said
Lower interest rates decrease the opportunity cost of holding nonyielding bullion and weigh on the dollar, making gold cheaper for investors holding other currencies.
U.S. stocks rose broadly following upbeat retail earnings, while U.S. Treasury yields rose as rising stock prices reflected improving risk sentiment.
“Still, the precious metals market bulls should not be too disappointed in price action so far this week, as it can be argued gold and silver are showing resilience in the face of rallying global stock markets this week,” Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst with Kitco Metals, wrote in a note.
Bullion has risen more than $100 since the beginning of August on concerns over the outlook for the global economy and the prospect of more U.S. interest rate cuts.
The central bank’s annual seminar in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later this week is also eagerly awaited, with the major focus on a scheduled speech by Fed Chair Jerome Powell.
Indicative of sentiment, holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, have increased by about 17 tonnes so far this month, and stood at 845.17 tonnes on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, silver rose 0.1% to $17.14 per ounce, while platinum edged 0.8% higher to $855.00.
Palladium was down 1.5% at $1,469.14 per ounce. (Reporting by Asha Sistla and Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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