PRECIOUS-Gold rises on inflation worries after U.S. stimulus approval

    March 15 (Reuters) - Gold prices gained on Monday as the
passage of a U.S. stimulus bill stoked inflation risks, although
a resultant bounce in Treasury yields kept gains in check.
    * Spot gold        rose 0.3% to $1,732.02 per ounce by 0134
GMT, while U.S. gold futures        for April delivery rose 0.7%
to $1,730.90 per ounce.
    * Yields on benchmark 10-year notes held near their highest
in more than a year on continued U.S. economic optimism after a
$1.9 trillion recovery package was signed into law last week.
    * Gold is generally considered a hedge against inflation,
although higher bond yields have challenged that status recently
as they increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding
    * U.S. producer prices increased strongly in February,
leading to the largest annual gain in nearly 2-1/2 years, data
showed on Friday.             
    * The number of Americans filing new jobless claims fell to
a four-month low last week, while the U.S. market morale rose to
its highest in a year in early March.                          
    * Investors piled into equities, while pulling money out of
gold and bonds in the week up to March 10, data from BofA Global
Research showed.             
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.3% to 1,052.07
tonnes on Friday from 1,055.27 tonnes on Thursday.          
    * Hedge funds and money managers slashed their bullish
positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to
March 9, data showed said on Friday.             
    * Silver        rose 0.9% to $26.14, platinum        rose 1%
to $1,217.37, while palladium        fell 0.1% to $2,369.17.

0200  China  Urban Investment (YTD) YY  Feb
0200  China  Industrial Output YY       Feb
0200  China  Retail Sales YY            Feb
1100  EU     Reserve Assets Total       Feb
1400  Euro zone finance ministers meet

 (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika