PRECIOUS-Gold gains as virus concerns boost safe-haven appeal

    * Specs raise gold bullish positions in week ended June 23 -
    * SPDR Gold Trust holdings rose 0.3% on Friday
    * Spot gold set to break resistance at $1,778/oz -

 (Adds comment, updates prices)
    By Brijesh Patel
    June 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Monday as worries
over a surge in COVID-19 infections globally dented optimism
about a swift economic rebound, driving investors toward the
safe-haven metal.
    Spot gold        was 0.1% higher at $1,772.30 per ounce by
0644 GMT. Prices were $6.76 shy of a near eight-year high of
$1,779.06, hit last week.
    U.S. gold futures        rose 0.3% to $1,786 per ounce.
    "Certainly the safe-haven buying is coming through fairly
strong, with the fresh outbreak of coronavirus in the U.S., in
particular, really driving that investor appetite at the
moment," said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes.
    California ordered some bars to close on Sunday, following
similar moves in Texas and Florida, as cases nationwide soar to
record levels each day. Washington state and the city of San
Francisco have paused re-opening plans.             
    The relentless spread of the coronavirus intensified
investor fears about a delay in global economic recovery and
weighed on risk appetite, driving inflows into safe-haven
    The outlook for a global economic recovery over the past
month has worsened or at best stayed about the same, according
to a firm majority of economists in Reuters polls.             
    "With COVID-19 cases rising in the U.S., real rates well
into negative territory and stimulus ongoing, the environment
remains conducive to a higher gold price," MKS PAMP said in a
    Reflecting increased investor interest in gold, holdings of
SPDR Gold Trust       rose 0.3% on Friday, while speculators
increased their bullish positions in COMEX gold and silver
contracts in the week to June 23.                  
    On the technical side, spot gold was poised to break a
resistance at $1,778 per ounce and rise to $1,789, said Reuters
technical analyst Wang Tao.         
    Elsewhere, palladium        gained 0.7% to $1,873.70 per
ounce, while platinum        rose 1.8% to $805.57 and silver
       climbed 0.6% to $17.85.

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry