PRECIOUS-Gold firm on weak U.S. data, North Korea concerns

    * Gold hovers above the 100-day moving average
    * Gold may end bounce in $1,229-$1,236.60 range - technicals
    * Platinum hits near two-week high

 (Updates prices)
    By Vijaykumar Vedala
    May 15 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher on Monday as
weaker-than-expected economic data from the U.S. and a missile
test by North Korea over the weekend pressured the dollar.   
    Spot gold        was up 0.3 percent at $1,232.45 per ounce
at 0726 GMT and hovered just above the 100-day moving average.
The yellow metal rose 0.3 percent on Friday.
    U.S. gold futures         were up 0.4 percent at $1,232.20
an ounce.
    North Korea said on Monday it had successfully conducted a
newly developed mid-to-long range missile test on Sunday,
supervised by leader Kim Jong Un and aimed at verifying the
capability to carry a "large scale heavy nuclear warhead."
    "It (North Korea's missile test) is underpinning support for
gold but at the moment its obviously not escalated to the point
where investors are becoming overly worried about," said ANZ
analyst Daniel Hynes.           
    "It (North Korea-U.S. relations) has been an issue for
sometime. Throwing in Trump into the mix sends a bit of
ambiguity into the market. So subsequently (investors are) a bit
more cautious about the outcome than they have been in the
    U.S. data on Friday showed a smaller-than-expected 0.4
percent increase in April retail sales from the previous month,
while a disappointing report on consumer prices raised concerns
about the retail sector and the broader economy.             
    "The data seems to be pointing to a weakening trend (in the
U.S. economy). Based on what we have so far, unless there is
more stronger data, more than two (U.S.) rate hikes are not very
likely," Argonaut Securities analyst Helen Lau said.
    Traders are expecting an almost 100 percent probability of
an interest rate increase in June, CME Group's FedWatch showed. 
    Gold is highly sensitive to rising rates, which lift the
opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion,
while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.
    Spot gold may end its current bounce in a narrow range of
$1,229 to $1,236.60 per ounce, and then revisit its May 9 low of
$1,214, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang
    The dollar started the week on the defensive on Monday with
the dollar index       , which measures the greenback's value
versus euro, yen and four other major currencies, easing about
0.2 percent.           
    Hedge funds and other money managers cut their net-long
position in COMEX gold to a six-week low in the week ended May
9, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed.
    Among other precious metals, silver        was up 0.7
percent at $16.57 per ounce. 
    Platinum        climbed 1.1 percent to $927.49 per ounce and
touched the highest since May 2 earlier in the session.
Palladium        rose 1.1 percent to $814.45.

 (Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by
Amrutha Gayathri and Christian Schmollinger)