PRECIOUS-Gold steadies as new infections fuel worries

    * Gold losing out safe-haven appeal to dollar
    * Falls in gold being viewed as buying opportunities
    * Platinum drops to more than one-week low
    * For an interactive graphic tracking the global coronavirus
spread, open in an external browser

 (Updates prices)
    By Diptendu Lahiri
    June 25 (Reuters) - Gold prices drifted sideways on Thursday
as a surge in coronavirus cases and mounting economic tolls kept
investors on edge, though the metal stepped back from last
session's more than 7-1/2-year high.
    Spot gold        was little changed at $1,762.11 per ounce
as of 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT), after hitting its highest level
since October 2012 at $1,779.06 on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures
        settled 0.3% lower at $1,770.60.
    "The market is taking into account what kind of
ramifications the second wave of the virus could have on the
economy," said David Meger, director of metals trading at High
Ridge Futures.
    "The (gold) market seems well supported due to the second
wave of coronavirus in the United States and around the world,
and the economic concerns related to that is elevating
safe-haven demand," Meger added.
    The weekly jobless claims report on Thursday showed millions
continue to collect unemployment checks more than a month after
many businesses resumed operating following virus-led lockdowns.
    Other data underscored expectations that the economy would
contract in the second quarter at its fastest pace since the
Great Depression.
    Gains in bullion, however, were cut by safe-haven flows into
the greenback. The dollar index        was up 0.2%.
    Australia and some U.S. states reported a spike in cases as
well as Latin America and India, the world's second biggest
bullion consumer.                         
    "Falls in the gold price are still being viewed by investors
as buying opportunities," Commerzbank said in a note, adding,
"We therefore regard the latest weakness in the gold price as
temporary and envisage new highs in the near future." 
    In other precious metals, platinum        was down 0.5% at
$796.28. The metal fell to its lowest since June 15 earlier in
the session, having posted its biggest one-day decline since
March 19 on Wednesday.
    Palladium        fell 1.1% to $1,844.30 per ounce and silver
       rose 1.2% to $17.73.

 (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan