PRECIOUS-Gold slips on hopes of recovery, vaccine; focus on U.S. payrolls

    * U.S. employment data due at 1230 GMT
    * Nonfarm payrolls forecast increasing 3 million in June
    * Asian stocks rise on vaccine hopes

 (Updates prices)
    By Brijesh Patel
    July 2 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower on Thursday, easing from
a near eight-year peak hit in the last session, as solid U.S.
manufacturing data and promising results from a COVID-19 vaccine
trial revived hopes for a quick economic recovery, denting
demand for safe havens.
    Spot gold        was down 0.1% to $1,768.56 per ounce by
0703 GMT, after touching $1,788.96 on Wednesday, its highest
since October 2012.
    U.S. gold futures        fell 0.1% to $1,778.
    "A general pro-growth stance across markets is why we're
seeing a little bit of pressure on gold," said Michael McCarthy,
chief strategist at CMC Markets, adding that market action
reflected a tussle between concerns over rising cases and hopes
for a vaccine and positive U.S. data.
    Manufacturing activity in the United States rebounded in
June, hitting its highest in more than a year, while similar
surveys from China, Germany and France all pointed to a recovery
in factory activity.             
    The economic readings and optimism over a potential vaccine
lifted equities.                         
    However, "The bull case for gold is still intact with real
rates low and suppressed and which would be able to sustain the
high price of gold," Phillip Futures said in a note.
    Markets now await June U.S. employment data and weekly
initial jobless claims report for clues about the health of the
U.S. economy as new cases accelerate in several southern states.
    Economists polled by Reuters expect U.S. nonfarm payrolls
likely increased by 3 million jobs in June, which would be the
most since the government started keeping records in 1939.
    Offering some respite to gold, the dollar index        fell
0.1% against its rivals.       
    While major market moves are unlikely ahead of the U.S.
data, "any deterioration on the ground in Hong Kong could see
further support for safe-haven gold," CMC's McCarthy said.
    Elsewhere, palladium        gained 0.5% to $1,914.13 per
ounce, platinum        rose 0.1% to $816.58, while silver       
fell 0.4% to $17.87.

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh
Kuber and Uttaresh.V)