PRECIOUS-Gold steady after gains; France downgrade weighs

Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:47am IST

SINGAPORE, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Gold traded little changed on
Tuesday, retaining the more than 1-percent rise from the
previous session driven by Middle East tensions, but a stronger
dollar weighed on sentiment after Moody's downgraded France's
credit rating.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold was little changed at $1,731.26 an ounce
by 0101 GMT, after posting its biggest one-day gain in about two
weeks on Monday. 
    * U.S. gold edged down 0.2 percent to $1,731.80.
    * Moody's stripped France of its prized triple-A badge on
Monday, cutting the sovereign credit rating on Europe's No. 2
economy by one notch to Aa1 from Aaa, citing an uncertain fiscal
outlook and deteriorating economy. 
    * U.S. home resales rose in October and a gauge of
homebuilder sentiment climbed to a six-year high in November,
signs of surprising vigour in the country's still-struggling
housing market. 
    * Greece approved laws on Monday to enforce budget targets
and ensure privatisation proceeds are used to pay off debt,
seeking to appease foreign lenders before a critical meeting of
euro zone finance ministers. 
    * The Bank of Japan is expected to stand its ground by
keeping monetary policy unchanged on Tuesday in the face of
calls from the country's likely next prime minister to pursue
"unlimited" easing. 
    * Australia's central bank said it was still open to
interest rate cuts but judged it appropriate to leave policy
unchanged in November due to a pick-up in inflation at home and
a slightly more positive global backdrop. 
    * The tension in the Middle East keeps safe-haven demand in
gold buoyed. Israel's leaders weighed the benefits and risks of
sending tanks and infantry into Gaza after six days of
Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli air strikes have killed over
100 people. 
    * Holdings of the gold-backed exchange-traded funds edged
down to 75.406 million ounces on Nov. 19, not far off the record
high of 75.421 million ounces hit last week. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
, or 
    
    MARKET NEWS
    * U.S. stocks bounced higher for a second consecutive
session on Monday as investors were encouraged by the early
atmosphere surrounding talks to tackle the nation's fiscal
crunch. 
    * U.S. crude oil futures eased on Tuesday as the U.S. dollar
firmed against the euro after Moody's downgraded France's
sovereign rating, but the fall was limited by festering tensions
in the Middle East. 
    * The euro eased from a near two-week high after Moody's
stripped France's top-notch rating, while the dollar firmed a
touch against a basket of currencies. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS
       Bank of Japan announces outcome of policy meeting
       Eurogroup meeting, Brussels      
 0700  Germany   Producer prices      Oct                     
 1245  U.S.      ICSC weekly chain store sales               
 1330  U.S.      Building permits     Oct                    
 1330  U.S.      Housing starts       Oct                    
 1715  U.S.  Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke speaks   
 
    
    PRICES
    Precious metals prices 0101 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1731.26   -0.19   -0.01     10.71
  Spot Silver        33.12    0.02   +0.06     19.61
  Spot Platinum    1575.99    5.19   +0.33     13.14
  Spot Palladium    639.72    2.72   +0.43     -1.96
  COMEX GOLD DEC2  1731.80   -2.60   -0.15     10.53         3233
  COMEX SILVER DEC2  33.12   -0.07   -0.22     18.63          856
  Euro/Dollar       1.2780
  Dollar/Yen         81.28
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months  
    

 (Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Ed Davies)
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