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. FUNDAMENTALS * 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 $1,243.80. * 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 rates. * 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 Thursday. * 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. DATA AHEAD (GMT) 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)
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