Oct 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Tuesday as the U.S. dollar weakened, while rebounding equities capped gains. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold was mostly flat at $1,256 an ounce by 0100 GMT. * U.S. gold futures were also mostly unchanged at $1,256.80 an ounce. * The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was down 0.2 percent at 97.663 after touching seven-month highs Monday. * Asian stocks edged up on Tuesday, though risk appetite was low as weak U.S. markets prompted investors to stay on the sidelines. * The Federal Reserve is "very close" to its U.S. employment and inflation targets, Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said on Monday. * The Bank of Japan has maintained its optimistic economic view on most of the country's nine regions, but said some firms are struggling to raise prices due to weak consumption, underscoring the difficulty of removing the public's sticky deflationary mindset. * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.18 percent to 967.21 tonnes on Monday. * China is marketing its yuan gold price to foreign exchanges and Singapore is looking at bringing London's gold benchmark to users in Asia, in moves meant to boost the region's exposure and influence in the global bullion market. * The Shanghai Gold Exchange will collaborate with foreign exchanges and allow them to use its yuan-denominated gold price in developing derivatives products, its chairman said on Monday. * Singapore will study the possibility of bringing the gold benchmark pricing in London to users in Asia, in a move that would also allow market participants in the world's top consuming region to help set the price of bullion. * Intercontinental Exchange on Monday said it would launch a London gold daily futures contract in February 2017, heating up the race to gain a bigger chunk and increase transparency of a market that is seen as a key global bullion trading centre. * For the top stories on metals and other news, click or (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford)
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