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PRECIOUS-Gold firms as U.S. stocks retreat; strong dollar caps gains

    * Wall Street snaps three-day surge
    * Silver hits lowest level since late December
    * Dollar hovers near three-week highs
    * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

 (Updates prices)
    By Sumita Layek
    April 2 (Reuters) - Gold firmed on Tuesday, recovering from
a near four-week low, as U.S. stock markets retreated, but a
strong dollar and robust economic data from the U.S. and China
eased fears of a global slowdown, capping bullion's advance.
    Spot gold        was up 0.3 percent at $1,291.03 per ounce
as of 1:33 p.m. EDT (1733 GMT), having touched its lowest level 
since March 7 at $1,284.76 earlier. U.S. gold futures       
settled 0.1 percent higher at $1,295.40 an ounce.
    "Equities have turned negative here ... It's a tug of war
between the equities and precious metals markets," said Bob
Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
    "Gold is going to be stuck in a range-bound movement for the
time being unless there is a breakdown in equity markets." 
    U.S. stocks pulled back after a three-day surge, while
investors looked for more signs of strength in the economy in
the wake of growth worries, after a surprise rebound in China's
manufacturing data and better-than-expected U.S. numbers pushed
the S&P 500        to near six-month highs.            
    "Better economic data shows there is no reason to carry
safety at the moment," said Phil Streible, senior commodities
strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago.
    Bullion is seen as a hedge against political and economic
uncertainty.  
    Also, the dollar        rose to a three-week high against a
basket of currencies, making gold expensive for holders of other
currencies.       
    New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods slipped in
February and shipments were unchanged, but data for January was
revised slightly higher, which could support views that the
manufacturing sector was stabilizing.             
    This comes after U.S. manufacturing activity rebounded a bit
more than expected in March, according to an industry report
released on Monday.             
    Meanwhile, International Monetary Fund Managing Director
Christine Lagarde said while global growth has lost momentum
amid rising trade tensions and tighter financial conditions,
pauses in rate hikes will help boost activity in the second half
of 2019.             
    Investors are also keeping a close watch on Sino-U.S. trade
negotiations, set to resume later this week in Washington with a
Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He.
    Holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded
fund, SPDR Gold Trust      , fell 1.5 percent on Monday, their
biggest one-day percentage decline in a month.          
    Among other precious metals, spot palladium        was up 1
percent at $1,433.50 an ounce. 
    Silver        slipped 0.1 percent to $15.09 per ounce after
touching its lowest level since late December at $14.90, while
platinum        dipped 0.2 percent to $845.67.

 (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru
Editing by Matthew Lewis and Chizu Nomiyama)
  
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