March 5, 2020 / 1:50 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices little changed amid virus fears, stronger equities weigh

    March 5 (Reuters) - Gold prices were little changed on
Thursday as stronger equities and upbeat U.S. data countered
fears that the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak would slow
the global economy.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was up 0.1% at $1,637.80 per ounce by
0059 GMT. 
    * U.S. gold futures        were down 0.2% to $1,693.10.
    * Asian shares were looking to rally for a fourth straight
session as U.S. markets swung sharply higher and another dose of
central bank stimulus offered some salve for the global economic
outlook.                        
    * U.S. services sector activity jumped to a one-year high in
February, data showed, suggesting strength in the economy before
a recent escalation of recession fears ignited by the epidemic
that prompted an emergency interest rate cut.             
    * There are signs the epidemic has begun to weigh on
business sentiment in the United States, a report by the Federal
Reserve showed, even as the economy expanded at a modest to
moderate pace over the past several weeks.             
    * The global spread of the virus has crushed hopes for
stronger growth this year and will hold 2020 global output gains
to their slowest pace since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the
International Monetary Fund's managing director said.
            
    * The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved
an $8.3 billion funding bill to combat the spread of the virus
on Wednesday, sending the emergency legislation to the Senate.
            
    * The Bank of England should wait until it has more clarity
about the economic hit from the epidemic before making any
decision to cut interest rates, its next governor Andrew Bailey
said.             
    * Euro zone businesses largely withstood the impact of the
virus in February, growing at their fastest pace in six months,
though a survey on Wednesday painted a gloomier outlook, with
falling export demand and disruptions to supply chains.
            
    * Mainland China had 139 new confirmed cases of coronavirus
infections on Wednesday, the country's National Health
Commission said on Thursday, taking the country's total number
of confirmed cases so far to 80,409.             
    * Palladium        slipped 0.2% to $2,572.87 per ounce,
while platinum        was steady at $872.40.
    * Silver        rose 0.3% to $17.22 per ounce.
    
DATA/EVENTS (GMT)    
1330 U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Weekly
1500 U.S. Factory Orders MM (Jan)

 (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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