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PRECIOUS-Gold steady on Brexit concerns despite firmer equities

BENGALURU, July 11 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady in
early Asian trade on Monday, underpinned by uncertainty
following Britain's Brexit vote even as equity markets rallied
on the back of upbeat U.S. jobs data.
        
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold, which hit a low of $1,335.68 in the wake
of Friday's better-than-expected U.S. jobs data, touched a high
of $1,374.71 an ounce early Monday. It was down 0.1 percent at
$1,365.10 at 0055 GMT.
    * U.S. gold was up 0.6 percent at $1,366.80 an
ounce.
    * Asian share markets enjoyed a relief rally on Monday as
upbeat U.S. jobs data lessened immediate concerns about the
health of the world's largest economy, although long-run fallout
from Brexit kept sovereign yields near record lows. 
    * U.S. job growth surged in June as manufacturing employment
increased, more evidence the economy has regained speed after a
first-quarter lull, but tepid wage growth could see the Federal
Reserve remain cautious about hiking interest rates.
 
    * U.S. employers have been adding enough jobs over the last
six months to put the economy on track, but that prospect alone
is unlikely to get the Fed to step on the brakes with
interest-rate hikes. 
    * Wall Street's top banks were almost evenly split over
whether the Fed would raise U.S. interest rates in 2016.
 
    * Soft Chinese inflation and G20 concerns that a global
recovery remains grim are hardening views among some economists
that more government stimulus will be needed to support China,
the world's second-biggest economy. 
    * Hedge funds and money managers again raised their net long
positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts to record highs in
the week to July 5, as safe-haven assets gained appeal after the
vote by Britain to leave the EU, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading
Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday. 
    * Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust GLD, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.30 percent to 981.26
tonnes on Friday. 
    * The world's top platinum miners face tough wage talks next
week with South Africa's hardline unions, having seen their
balance sheets battered and the capacity for big pay hikes
limited by low prices and the effects of a five-month strike in
2014. 
    * Investors poured record amounts into emerging market bonds
and precious metals funds in the latest week, seeking both a
return in a world of evaporating yields and safety amid a
darkening economic outlook, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said
on Friday. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
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    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
     1400  U.S.    Employment trends  Jun 
    

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