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PRECIOUS-Gold touches two-week low as Britain gears up for EU vote

BENGALURU, June 23 (Reuters) - Gold touched a fresh two-week
low early on Thursday on cautious optimism that British voters
would opt to stay in the European Union at referendum later in
the session, thereby boosting Asian stocks and reducing risk
aversion. 
                
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,262.26 an ounce by
0057 GMT. Bullion touched a low of $1,260.36 earlier in the
session, its worst level since June 9.     
    * U.S. gold was down 0.4 percent to $1,265.30.
    * The campaign to keep Britain in the European Union got a
boost from two opinion polls published late on Wednesday, a few
hours before voters begin to cast their votes in a historic EU
membership referendum. 
    * A vote by Britain to leave the 28-member EU, dubbed
"Brexit," could tip Europe back into recession, putting more
pressure on the global economy, thereby boosting the safe haven
appeal of gold. Polling will take place between 0600-2100 GMT on
Thursday, with the results expected early on Friday.
    * Asian shares edged up, while the pound rose to a six-month
high against the dollar.  
    * Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she has not
scheduled special meetings for Friday or Saturday in order to
respond to the "Brexit" vote. 
    * U.S. home resales rose in May to a more than nine-year
high amid low mortgage rates, pointing to sustained housing
market strength that should keep the economy on solid ground.
 
    * International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine
Lagarde said on Wednesday that the Federal Reserve should avoid
"abrupt" interest rate moves and focus on stability in its
monetary policy. 
    * Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.39 percent to 915.90
tonnes on Wednesday, the highest since September 2013. 
    * Gold's sharp gains on uncertainty over Britain's European
Union membership are likely to come to an end, regardless of
whether Britons vote to leave or remain in Thursday's
referendum.    
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
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    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
    Britain holds referendum on membership in European Union  
    0700  France Markit manufacturing flash PMI       Jun 
    0700  France Markit services flash PMI            Jun 
    0730  Germany Markit manufacturing flash PMI      Jun 
    0730  Germany Markit services flash PMI           Jun 
    0800  Euro zone Markit manufacturing flash PMI    Jun 
    0800  Euro zone Markit services flash PMI         Jun 
    1230  U.S. weekly jobless claims    
    1230  U.S. National activity index                May 
    1345  U.S. Markit manufacturing flash PMI         Jun 
    1400  U.S. New home sales                         May 
    1400  U.S. Leading index                          May 

 (Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Ed
Davies)
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