PRECIOUS-Gold edges off 2-week lows as Sino-U.S. trade caution lingers

 (Updates prices)
    * Palladium touches highest in three weeks
    * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns:

    By K. Sathya Narayanan
    Nov 26 (Reuters) - Gold edged higher from a two-week low hit
earlier on Tuesday after data showed U.S. consumer confidence
slipped in November, with investors eager for more details on
the long-awaited trade agreement between the United States and
    Spot gold        was up 0.5% at $1,461.51 an ounce as of
1:45 p.m. ET (1845 GMT). U.S. gold futures for December        
settled up 0.2% at $1,460.30. 
    U.S. consumer confidence fell for a fourth straight month in
    Gold earlier in the day touched its lowest level since Nov.
12 at $1,450.30, having posted losses in the previous four
    "The only story here is the China-U.S. (trade deal). Last
few sessions, gold has been selling off on hopes for a
U.S.-China deal. Right now, gold is paused here and is in kind
of a wait-and-see (mode)," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market
strategist at RJO Futures.
    The United States and China are close to agreement on the
first phase of a trade deal, U.S. President Donald Trump said on
Tuesday, after top negotiators from the two countries spoke by
telephone and agreed to keep working on remaining issues.
    "The talk on the streets is that the phase one deal is going
to be a non-event. People believe that there would be a deal but
 very little substance in it," said Michael Matousek, head
trader at U.S. Global Investors.
    "The market is going to be wandering around aimlessly for
another week or two until we get more information out of the
Federal Reserve coming into December and the China trade deal."
    However, despite optimism in the market about a conclusion
to the protracted trade war between the world's two largest
economies, analysts believe that gold is going to remain bullish
in the longer term.
    Speculators increased their bullish positions in COMEX gold
and silver in the week to Nov. 19, the U.S. Commodity Futures
Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.             
    "The reason why you are seeing CFTC positions increasing is
because people are looking long-term and are worried about 
equities being too hot right now," Haberkorn said. "They are
concerned about a large sell-off in equities with how high they
have gone so fast." 
    Wall Street's three main indexes hit all-time highs on
    Safe-haven bullion has gained over 13% so far this year.
    Elsewhere, silver        rose 1.1% to $17.09  per ounce.
    Palladium        gained 0.7% to $1,810.44, having earlier
touched its highest since Nov. 4, while platinum        climbed
1.3% to $908.70.

 (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru
Editing by Marguerita Choy, Sandra Maler and Nick Zieminski)