* Investors worry about U.S. bailout plan
* Central bank gold pact ends 4th year
* Platinum down nearly 4 pct on weak demand outlook (Recasts, updates prices, market activity to close; second byline, dateline, previously LONDON)
NEW YORK/LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Gold ended 1 percent higher on Friday after surging as much as 4 percent during the session, as safe-haven and technical buying gave way to profit-taking ahead of the weekend.
Platinum tumbled almost 4 percent, dragged down by poor demand outlook.
Spot gold XAU= was at $884.40/887.40 an ounce at 3:11 p.m. EDT (1911 GMT), up 1 percent from gold's nominal Thursday close at $875.70. Earlier, it fell as low as $866.20 an ounce.
Pressure mounted on U.S. lawmakers to agree on the $700 billion bailout plan for the financial sector after talks at the White House broke down in acrimony. European shares lost ground and U.S. markets opened lower due to uncertainty.
President George W. Bush said there were disagreements on parts of the plan, but Congress ultimately would pass legislation. [ID:nLQ642722]
“We’re waiting for the rescue package. There is uncertainty about when it is coming,” said analyst Barbara Lambrecht at Commerzbank in Germany. “The chances of further bad news, new financial crisis breaking out are all supportive for gold.”
Flight-to-quality demand picked up for gold after U.S. authorities shut bank Washington Mutual Inc on Thursday, selling its assets to JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N. [ID:nLQ501615]
Fortis FOR.BRFOR.AS shares fell on Friday for a fifth straight day in feverish trading. The Belgian-Dutch bank denied it had liquidity problems, saying it had a funding base of 300 billion euros and solid solvency ratios.
“The gold market will continue to be well supported,” said Frank McGhee, head precious metals trader of Integrated Brokerage Services, citing the “hyper-inflationary” effects of the U.S. market bailout plan and the weak dollar.
U.S. gold contract for December delivery GCZ8 settled up $6.50 at $888.50 an ounce on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold has gained about 20 percent since Sept. 11 as safe-haven demand heightened after the collapse in the share price of Lehman Brothers LEHMQ.PK raised questions about the stability of the U.S. and global financial sector.
“Everything’s just marking time, ” said Simon Weeks, managing director of precious metals at the Bank of Nova Scotia. “People are waiting to see whether the U.S. lawmakers will reach any conclusions,” he said.
CENTRAL BANK GOLD AGREEMENT
Traders also will wait to hear how much gold has been sold so far by the European central banks as Friday marks the end of the fourth year of the Central Bank Gold Agreement.
In March 2004, 15 European central banks renewed a 1999 pact to limit their sales over a five-year period to 2,500 tonnes, with annual sales limited to 500 tonnes, up from 2,000 tonnes in the first agreement.
Platinum XPT=, widely used as a component in automotive catalytic converters, dropped 3.6 percent after data Thursday showed global output at Toyota, the largest automaker in Japan, declined by 17 percent in August.
“The data suggests the demand from the autocatalyst sector -- the major use for platinum and palladium -- is going to be very, very soft,” Briggs at RBS said.
The metal fell as low as $1,127.50 an ounce and was last at $1,108.00/1,128.00 an ounce, down from the nominal close on Thursday of $1,172.50.
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