PRECIOUS-Gold steady as investors eye race for Oval Office

    * Dollar slips 0.5%, equities rally
    * A Democrat sweep may provide gold a handsome tailwind
    * Markets await U.S. Fed's two-day policy meeting 
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
    * in an external browser

 (Updates prices)
    By Asha Sistla
    Nov 3 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Tuesday as a
jump in riskier assets offset the impact of strict lockdowns
across Europe and with wary markets awaiting results of the U.S.
presidential election.
    Spot gold        was up 0.1% at $1,896.77 per ounce by 1059
GMT, while U.S. gold futures        rose 0.3% to $1,898.90 per
    Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig said
stock market gains were indicative of improved risk appetite and
a weaker U.S. dollar index.                  
    "Not to forget we have election day today, so nobody is
really willing to take stronger positions now and are just
waiting for the results."
    President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden made a
last-ditch push for votes in battleground states on Monday as
their campaigns prepared for post-election disputes that could
prolong the election process.                          
    Analysts say a Biden win, with his plans for potentially
large stimulus, could help gold - seen as hedge against
inflation and currency debasement - rally.             
    "A Democrat sweep is likely to provide gold a handsome
tailwind in the form of a weaker dollar," said Lukman Otunuga,
Senior Research Analyst at FXTM in a note.
    "Although the metal may also derive some strength from a
Trump win, the upside is likely to be limited by other forces in
the short to medium term." 
    He said that if the dollar were to appreciate on a contested
election outcome, gold's upside could be limited despite risk
    The dollar, often seen as a rival safe-haven to gold, fell
0.5% against a basket of currencies on Tuesday.       
    The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will begin its
two-day meeting on Wednesday.             
    Silver        was up 0.3% to $24.12 per ounce. Platinum
       rose 1.2% to $868.80 and palladium        gained 1.6% to

 (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten