* Dollar index inches up from 7-week lows
* Spot gold may test support at $1,237/oz -technicals
* Palladium off over 1-mth highs hit in previous session
(Adds comment, updates prices)
By Sethuraman N R
March 23 Gold prices on Thursday held below a
3-week peak hit the session before, with the dollar recovering
from seven-week lows and markets waiting to see if U.S.
President Donald Trump can push through a healthcare bill.
Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,247.30 per ounce
at 0725 GMT. On Wednesday, it touched its strongest since Feb.
28 at $1,251.26.
U.S. gold futures were down 0.1 percent at
"There is a strong technical resistance at $1,250 and that
seems to have been felt strongly at this juncture," said OCBC
analyst Barnabas Gan.
Spot gold may retrace to support at $1,237 per ounce,
following its failure to break a resistance zone of
$1,247-$1,254, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
However, Gan pointed to the impact of sustained political
issues in Europe and the United States.
"This kind of uncertainty does lift gold prices," he said.
The immediate focus is on whether Trump can gather enough
support in a vote as early as Thursday to pass a bill to roll
back Obamacare, a first major test of his legislative ability
and whether he can keep his promises to business.
Trump and House of Representatives leaders were pushing on
Wednesday for votes for their plan, and said they were making
progress in their efforts to win over conservative Republicans
who have demanded changes to the legislation.
However, a rough ride for the healthcare plan could affect
Trump's efforts to cut taxes and boost infrastructure, and drive
more investors into gold as a safe-haven investment if stock
markets fall, analysts and traders said.
"A sustained break and close above $1,250 will be the key
for a test of the 200-day moving average at $1,259.50, while
support initially sits at $1,244-$1,245," MKS PAMP Group trader
Sam Laughlin said.
"Uncertainty surrounding the Trump administration continues
to weigh upon the dollar and is likely to result in further
upside momentum for the yellow metal."
The dollar index , which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, was up 0.1 percent at 99.684. It
fell to a near seven-week low of 99.547 on Wednesday.
Spot silver rose 0.3 percent to $17.54.
Platinum was up 0.5 percent at $962.55 per ounce,
while palladium edged up 0.3 percent to $788.85. The
metal hit over one-month highs at $794.30 in the prior session.
(Reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by
Richard Pullin and Joseph Radford)