PRECIOUS-Gold steadies near multi-year peak as virus fears mount

    * Gold eyes biggest quarterly rise in over 4 years
    * Specs raise bullish gold positions in week ended June 23 -
    * SPDR Gold Trust holdings rise 0.3% on Friday
    * Wall Street advance weighs on gold

 (Updates prices)
    By Shreyansi Singh
    June 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices were little changed on
Monday, but held close to a near eight-year peak scaled last
week, as the accelerating spread of the coronavirus threatened
to derail hopes of an economic recovery.
    Spot gold        eased 0.1% to $1,769.52 per ounce by 1:42
p.m. EDT (1742 GMT), but only $9.54 shy of its highest since
October 2012 hit last Wednesday.
    Prices are also on track for the third straight monthly gain
and the biggest quarterly rise in over four years. 
    U.S. gold futures        settled 0.1% up to $1,781.20.
    "The uptick in coronavirus cases right now across most parts
of the United States has got the markets on edge right now,
supporting gold," Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO
    "There's been a flight to safety into gold since last
week... But at the moment, traders are waiting to see how
equities perform" and if equities do sell off later, gold should
move higher.
    Weighing on gold, was a steady dollar        and gains in
Wall Street as investors pinned hopes on more stimulus even as
global coronavirus cases continued to mount.                 
    Infections have soared in the United States, with California
ordering bars to close and Washington state pausing plans for
re-opening the economy.                          
    However, Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at financial
services firm AxiCorp said a lack of inflation posed a difficult
question for the gold rally.
    "Given inflation is headed lower in both the short- and
medium-term, gold needs (real bond) yields to continue to fall
this year." 
    SPDR Gold Trust      , holdings rose 0.3% to 1,178.90 tonnes
on Friday, while speculators increased their bullish positions
in COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to June 23.
    Palladium        rose 2.5% to $1,906.15 per ounce, while
platinum        gained 2.1% to $807.39 and silver        was up
by 0.1% to $17.77.

 (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh in Bengaluru
Editing by Marguerita Choy)