PRECIOUS-Gold steady on geopolitical worries amid firmer dollar

    April 20 (Reuters) - Gold held firm on Thursday, after
falling as much as 1 percent the previous day, as tensions
surrounding North Korea and the upcoming French presidential
election offered support to the safe-haven asset amid a firmer

    * Spot gold        was up 0.1 percent at $1,280 per ounce as
of 0107 GMT. The metal fell 0.8 percent on Wednesday, its worst
one-day drop in over a month.
    * U.S. gold futures         were down 0.2 percent at
    * The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a
basket of six major rivals, edged up 0.1 percent to 99.781
      , moving away from a three-week low of 99.465 plumbed on
    * A run of disappointing U.S. economic data and doubts the
Trump administration will progress with tax cuts have quelled
expectations of faster inflation, while the Federal Reserve said
in its Beige Book that the U.S. economy expanded at a
modest-to-moderate pace between mid-February and the end of
    * U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday that
Washington would work with its allies and China to put economic
and diplomatic pressure on North Korea but added that the United
States would defeat any attack with an "overwhelming response".
    * Prospects for the euro zone economy have improved but the
time to withdraw support has not yet come, three European
Central Bank rate setters said on Wednesday, days before a tense
French presidential election and the ECB's own policy meeting.
    * Stocks, bond yields and the dollar are all falling, yield
curves are flattening and sterling is marching higher. The
"reflation" trades of 2016 that were supposed to mark a turning
point in global markets are fading fast.             
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 1.39 percent to
860.76 tonnes on Wednesday from 848.92 tonnes on Tuesday.   
    * Shanghai-listed Shandong Tyan Home             said on
Wednesday its negotiations with Barrick Gold Corp          to
buy the Canadian operator's 50-percent stake in Kalgoorlie mine
have ended without a deal, citing new capital and acquisition
rules in China.             
    * China Development Bank is considering providing financing
for a Chinese consortium seeking to buy a stake in Russia's
largest gold producer Polyus          , two sources familiar
with discussions about the potential deal told Reuters.
     0600  Germany Producer prices                      Mar 
     1230  U.S.    Weekly jobless claims  
     1230  U.S.    Philly Fed business index            Apr 
     1330  IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde briefing 
     1400  Euro zone Consumer confidence flash          Mar 
     1400  U.S.  Leading index                          Mar 

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by
Kenneth Maxwell)