May 16, 2017 / 10:23 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold climbs for fourth day as dollar slips and euro rallies

    * Dollar index        at lowest since November
    * Platinum up for 5th straight session, at 2-week high
    * Palladium falls to four-week low

 (Updates prices; adds comment, second byline, NEW YORK
    By Marcy Nicholson and Eric Onstad
    NEW YORK/LONDON, May 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices extended
gains for a fourth day on Tuesday as political troubles and
weaker-than-expected housing data in the United States dented
the dollar while a more upbeat scenario in Europe lifted the
    "The dollar is weak today, which has helped precious metals
across the board," said Carsten Menke, analyst at Julius Baer in
Zurich. He attributed the move in the greenback to a combination
of events in the United States and Europe.
    Spot gold        was up 0.6 percent at $1,237.85 an ounce by
3:30 p.m. EDT (1930 GMT), after rising to $1,239.10, the highest
since May 4.
    U.S. gold futures         settled up 0.5 percent at
    The dollar index        slipped to the weakest in more than
six months after two U.S. officials said President Donald Trump
disclosed highly classified information to Russia's foreign
minister about a planned Islamic State operation.             
    Investors regarded Trump's difficulties as another obstacle
to planned U.S. tax cuts and infrastructure spending that had 
boosted the dollar since the November election.
    Gold is used as an alternative investment during times of
political and financial uncertainty.
    Also pressuring the dollar, the Commerce Department said
housing starts dropped to the lowest level in five months.
    "I think (the dollar) is the key catalyst," Bill O'Neill,
co-founder of LOGIC Advisors, said about the session's main
source of support for bullion prices.
    At the same time, markets were cheered by the outlook for
Europe after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and new French
President Emmanuel Macron agreed to draw up a roadmap to deepen
European Union integration.                         
    Investors may become more cautious, however, due to recent
global developments including a North Korean missile test and
the "ransomware" cyber attack, which could lift gold prices over
the next two weeks, said Mark To, head of research at Hong
Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group.                         
    Among other precious metals, silver        rose 1.3 percent
at $16.81 an ounce after tapping $16.86, the highest since May
    Platinum        rose 1 percent to $936.80, with a session
high at $942, a two-week high.
    A bullish signal for platinum has appeared in charts, said
Stéphanie Aymes, head of technical analysis at Societe Generale.
    "Short term, platinum looks headed for $953, the trend line
resistance and the 61.8 percent retracement of the last bout of
down move, and $991," she said in a note, adding that further
targets would be $1,046 and $1,080.
    Producers, fabricators and traders have gathered for
Platinum Week in London.                                     
    Palladium        edged down 0.6 percent to $791.75 an ounce,
paring losses after dropping to $784.97, the lowest since April

 (Additional reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru;
Editing by David Clarke and Bill Trott)
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