PRECIOUS-Gold steady as markets await U.S. healthcare vote

    March 24 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Friday amid
a firmer dollar as markets waited to see if U.S. President
Donald Trump will face hurdles on his economic agenda after U.S.
lawmakers delayed a vote on a healthcare bill.
    * Spot gold        was down 0.1 percent at $1,243.60 per
ounce by 0058 GMT. On Thursday, it touched its strongest since
Feb. 28 at $1,253.12.
    * U.S. gold futures         were down 0.3 percent at
    * Palladium        climbed to a peak of $808.70 in the prior
session, its highest since March 2015. 
    *  U.S. President Donald Trump will get a second chance to
try to close the deal with Republican lawmakers on dismantling
Obamacare in a high-stakes vote on a new healthcare bill
rescheduled for Friday.             
    * A rough ride for the healthcare plan could affect Trump's
efforts to cut taxes and boost infrastructure, with the
potential to drive more investors to gold as a safe haven if
stock markets fall, analysts and traders said.
    * U.S. home resales fell more than expected in February amid
a persistent shortage of houses on the market that is pushing up
prices and sidelining prospective buyers.             
    * New U.S. single-family home sales jumped to a seven-month
high in February, suggesting the housing market recovery was
gaining momentum despite higher prices and rising mortgage
    * Economic recovery in the euro zone is gaining ground and
some data points to robust momentum in the first quarter despite
uncertainty over Brexit, China's rebalancing and new U.S.
policies clouding the outlook, the European Central Bank said on
    * Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan said
the U.S. central bank should be moving "deliberately but
patiently" to remove monetary policy accommodation, as long as
the economy continues to make progress toward the Fed's goals.
    * San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams said
Thursday that the economy is in a good place and that the U.S.
central bank should continue to raise interest rates this year
as fast as or faster than it has signaled it would.             
    * Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen did not address
monetary policy or the economic outlook in prepared remarks for
a childhood education conference in Washington.             
    * Workers downed tools on Thursday in a wildcat strike at
Harmony Gold's          Kusasalethu mine west of Johannesburg,
the company said.             
     0745  France       GDP Final                          Q4 
     0800  France       Markit manufacturing flash PMI     Mar 
     0830  Germany      Markit manufacturing flash PMI     Mar 
     0900  Euro zone    Markit manufacturing flash PMI     Mar 
     1230  U.S.         Durable goods                      Feb 
     1445  U.S.         Markit manufacturing flash PMI     Mar  
     Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks at lunch event at
     the Brookings Institution to discuss Fed's recent rate 
     action and monetary policy 

 (Reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by
Richard Pullin)