(Recasts, adds comments, updates prices) * Markets shrug-off Trump threat around aid bill * Britain and the EU strike a post-Brexit trade deal * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: tmsnrt.rs/3mvcUoa By Shreyansi Singh Dec 24 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose in holiday-thinned trade on Thursday as investors remained optimistic over U.S. stimulus and the dollar was mostly lower after Britain clinched a trade deal with the European Union. Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,878.77 per ounce by 1:42 p.m. EST (1842 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled up 0.3% at $1,883.20. "Although there have been setbacks in the stimulus negotiations there is a high likelihood of stimulus passing at some point relatively soon and that is somewhat supporting gold prices to an extent," said Jeffrey Sica, founder of Circle Squared Alternative Investments. "However, one of the reasons why we are not seeing a bigger move up is because there is significant volatility but upside momentum in the stock market." Investors largely brushed off reports that U.S. lawmakers blocked attempts to alter a $2.3 trillion coronavirus aid and government spending package. Gold, which has risen about 24% this year, tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures because it is widely viewed as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement. "Supportive factors for the gold market include the weaker U.S. dollar index for the past couple of days after gains earlier this week," said Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim Wyckoff. Raising gold's appeal for holders of other currencies, the U.S. dollar was muted after Britain clinched a narrow Brexit trade deal with the European Union. Meanwhile, worries over the spread of a more transmissible coronavirus variant have led to a tightening of restrictions in Britain, underlining concerns over a post-pandemic economic recovery. Among other precious metals, silver was up 1% at $25.79. Platinum gained 0.7% to $1,022.08 and palladium rose 0.8% to $2,341.20. Trading is expected to be subdued ahead of the Christmas holidays. (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh and Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Pravin Char and Chizu Nomiyama)
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