* SPDR Gold Trust holdings rose 0.4% on Friday * Speculators increased gold bullish positions in week to May 19 -CFTC * For an interactive graphic tracking the global coronavirus spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser (Updates prices) By Harshith Aranya May 25 (Reuters) - Gold declined on Monday as Japanese equities rose on news of a potential stimulus programme that boosted investors' risk appetite, though fresh tensions over Hong Kong limited the metal's fall. Spot gold was down 0.5% at $1,725.18 per ounce by 0700 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.6% to $1,725.60. "I think the play into stocks and other risk assets has probably supported the risk appetite, and diminished the appeal for gold in the short term," said IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda. "There still seems to be the broad issue of gold prices trying to break too far above the $1,740, $1,750 mark." Gold on Friday rose as much as 0.8% to touch $1,739.51, before paring gains. Japan is considering fresh stimulus worth over $929 billion, which mostly consists of financial aid programmes for companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the Nikkei newspaper said. Japan's Nikkei index jumped 1.7% following the report. Highlighting a return of political uncertainty, thousands rallied on Sunday to protest against Beijing's plan to impose national security laws on Hong Kong. The proposed national security legislation for Hong Kong could lead to U.S. sanctions and threaten the city's status as a financial hub, White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said on Sunday. Gold is seen as a safe-haven asset during political and economic uncertainties. Reflecting investor sentiment, SPDR Gold Trust holdings, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.4% to 1,116.71 tonnes on Friday. Speculators increased their bullish positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to May 19, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday. Overall trading is expected to be subdued with U.S. and UK markets shut for public holidays. Palladium rose 0.5% to $1,956.60 per ounce; while platinum was down 1.1% at $830.19, and silver dropped 1.6% to $16.91. (Reporting by Harshith Aranya and K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)
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