July 25, 2014 / 11:16 AM / 5 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold up on Ukraine, short-covering; posts weekly loss

* Geopolitical tensions over Ukraine, Iraq boost gold

* Pre-weekend buying amid uncertainty lifts gold

* SPDR Gold Trust holdings drop

* Coming up: U.S. pending home sales Monday (Updates market activities)

By Frank Tang and Clara Denina

NEW YORK/LONDON, July 25 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Friday, rebounding from the previous session’s drop to a one-month low, as heightened tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine prompted speculators to buy back their bearish bets ahead of the weekend.

For the week, however, bullion posted a near 1-percent drop, its second consecutive weekly decline, as encouraging recent U.S. economic indicators lessened the metal’s safe-haven appeal.

Gold prices climbed as Russia said the United States was trying to influence international opinion through unfounded insinuations and anti-Russian rhetoric over the crisis in Ukraine, while the Pentagon said the transfer of rocket systems from Russia to Ukrainian separatists appeared to be imminent.

“With the news flow coming out Russia and Ukraine and you don’t know what’s going to happen in Iraq, traders are buying gold as they don’t want to get too exposed to geopolitical risks going into the weekend,” said Robert Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management’s Private Client Reserve.

Spot gold was up 0.7 percent at 1,301.81 an ounce by 3:03 p.m. EDT (1903 GMT), after losing nearly 1 percent on Thursday, when it hit its lowest since June 19 at $1,287.46.

U.S. COMEX gold futures for August delivery settled up $12.50 at $1,303.30 an ounce.

Weaker U.S. equities dragged by bellwether online retailer Amazon also lifted gold prices.

The market awaited the release of July U.S. non-farm payrolls and the Federal Open Market Committee meeting, both scheduled for next week.

Gold was down 0.7 percent this week, extending the previous week’s 2 percent fall, mostly on speculation that an improving employment sector in the United States could signal an early rate increase by the Federal Reserve.

As a gauge of investor sentiment, holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 3.6 tonnes on Thursday - the biggest one-day drop in more than a month.

Silver, platinum and palladium were also headed for weekly losses, with spot silver down about 1.2 percent for the week. On Friday, it was up 1 percent at $20.52 an ounce.

Platinum climbed 0.7 percent to $1,471.99 an ounce, while palladium rose 1 percent to $875.75 an ounce. (Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; Editing by William Hardy, Pravin Char and Marguerita Choy)

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