PRECIOUS-Gold gains on hopes of increased U.S. pandemic aid

 (Recasts, updates prices)
    * Dollar index eases 0.3%
    * Senate to address stimulus checks this week- - McConnell
    * Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:

    By Shreyansi Singh
    Dec 29 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Tuesday as the prospect of
additional U.S.  stimulus bolstered the metal's appeal and
weighed on the dollar, with Washington's lawmakers set to
address President Donald Trump's request for larger coronavirus
relief checks this week. 
    Spot gold        rose 0.3% to $1,877.51 per ounce by 1:45
p.m. EST (1845 GMT). The metal climbed as much 1.3% on Monday
after U.S. President Donald Trump's approval of a $2.3 trillion
stimulus package.
    U.S. gold futures        settled up 0.1% to $1,882.90.
    "You now have a leadership in the U.S. that is going to do
everything possible to defeat the virus - that's going to mean
extended lockdowns, more stimulus and that is going to provide
strong upward support for gold," said Edward Moya, senior market
analyst at OANDA.
    "Investors are bracing for a much stronger wave of stimulus
once (President-elect Joe) Biden comes into office and I think
that's why the gold trade is in check." 
    The dollar index        fell 0.3% against rival currencies,
making greenback-denominated bullion more appealing for other
currency holders.        
    European stocks closed at a 10-month high, boosted by hopes
of a bigger stimulus package, while U.S. Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday senators this week will address
Trump's call for an increase in COVID-19 aid checks from $600 to
    "We are entering 2021 with some nervousness as we got stock
markets at elevated levels and (on) prospects of additional
stimulus against the prospect of vaccine starting to improve the
economic outlook... but overall it hasn't reduced the appetite
for safe-haven metals," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.
    As 2020 winds down, gold, a hedge against inflation, has
risen about 24% this year, mainly due to stimulus measures
rolled out across the globe to curtail the economic damage from
the pandemic.
    Silver        was up 0.1% at $26.12 an ounce. Platinum
       rose 1.5% to $1,046.26 and palladium        was steady at

 (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh, Aaron Saldanha and Asha Sistla
in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler)