* Dollar slips 0.5%, equities rally * A Democrat sweep may provide gold a handsome tailwind -analyst * Markets await U.S. Fed's two-day policy meeting * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open * tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 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 ounce. 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 aversion. 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 $2,247.70. (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
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