PRECIOUS-Gold prices notch longest string of daily gains in over 6 years

    * Technical signals for gold seen as positive-analyst
    * Silver ETF holdings edge up to highest since September
    * GRAPHIC-2017 asset returns:

 (Updates prices, adds milestones)
    By Chris Prentice and Jan Harvey
    NEW YORK/LONDON, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Gold extended a nine-day
rally on Thursday and hit a one-month high on a strong technical
outlook and a U.S. dollar at a four-week low, as palladium
prices reversed earlier losses to touch  fresh 17-year highs.
    Gold benefited from technically-driven momentum after
closing above its 100-day moving average on Wednesday for the
first time since late November, analysts said. 
    Spot gold        was up 0.61 percent at $1,294.84 per ounce
by 3:37 p.m. EST (1034 GMT) after hitting its highest since Nov.
29 at $1,295.21 an ounce. Spot prices have risen for nine
straight sessions, not including the Christmas holiday. That is
the longest string of daily gains since July 2011.
    U.S. gold futures        for February delivery settled up
0.45 percent at $1,297.20 per ounce. 
    Higher lows have bullion's chart looking strong, said Eli
Tesfaye, senior market strategist for brokerage RJO Futures in
    "The technicals favor the upside. The gravitational force is
trying to break through the (key) psychological level of
$1,300," he said.
    Continued softness in the dollar bolstered bullion, with
additional strength lent by commodities markets including copper
and crude oil, traders said. Brent crude oil futures        
stayed near 2-1/2-year highs and copper         touched a
four-year peak.                         
    The dollar retreated against a basket of currencies, with
the index        slipping to its lowest since late November on a
less certain U.S. economic outlook after the passage of major
tax cuts.             
    "The weakness in the dollar is playing its part," Naeem
Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets, said. "We do think
that this trend will continue into 2018. We expect the gold
price to finish the year above $1,300 mark, and that would send
a strong buy signal for traders."
    The dollar index is down more than 9 percent so far this
year, set for its biggest annual loss since 2003. That's helped
lift gold nearly 5 percent from a near five-month low of
$1,235.92 struck in mid-December. 
    "With the Relative Strength Index (RSI) still at neutral
levels, the technical picture suggests there is still potential
topside in this rally," currency broker OANDA said in a note.
    Net gold imports to major consumer China via main conduit
Hong Kong fell 23.6 percent in November from the previous month,
data showed.             
    Palladium        touched its highest since February 2001 at
$1,072 and was up 0.71 percent at $1,068, continuing its climb
on expectations of short supplies and strong demand.
    Silver        was up 0.88 percent at $16.83 an ounce after
hitting a one-month high of $16.887. Holdings of silver
exchange-traded funds tracked by Reuters rose to their highest
since early September, with Thursday's data showing a 62-tonne
    Platinum        was up 0.95 percent at $925.70 an ounce. 

 (Additional reporting by Apeksha Nair and Nallur Sethuraman in
Bengaluru; Editing by Diane Craft and Susan Thomas)