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PRECIOUS-Gold slips as markets await U.S. healthcare vote
March 24, 2017 / 4:10 AM / in 7 months

PRECIOUS-Gold slips as markets await U.S. healthcare vote

    * Healthcare vote likely later Friday
    * Spot gold may test support at $1,237/oz - technicals
    * Spot gold has risen more than 1 pct this week
    * Palladium near 2-yr highs hit in prior session

 (Updates prices)
    By Sethuraman N R
    March 24 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged lower on Friday
against a backdrop of a rising dollar as markets waited to see
whether U.S. President Donald Trump succeeds in pushing through
healthcare reforms, viewed as a potential bellwether for his
ability to impose his economic and political agenda.
     A rough ride for the healthcare plan could affect Trump's
efforts to cut taxes and boost infrastructure, with the
potential to drive more investors to gold as a safe haven if
stock markets fall, analysts and traders said
     Spot gold        was down 0.2 percent at $1,242.31 per
ounce by 0651 GMT. On Thursday, it touched its strongest since
Feb. 28 at $1,253.12. The yellow metal was on track for its
second straight week of gains.
     U.S. gold futures         were down 0.4 percent at
$1,242.20.
    "If the (healthcare) vote is to pass the reforms, gold could
face pressure. But, if it encounters problems, we might chase a
previous high at around $1,260," a precious metals trader said. 
    The dollar recouped a little lost ground on Friday amid
signs the delayed healthcare vote would go ahead later in the
day - though it remained unclear whether it would pass.
                  
    The dollar index       , which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, rose 0.2 percent to 99.956. It
hit a seven-week low of 99.547 on Wednesday.
    "The yellow metal continues to see solid interest underneath
$1,245, however should prices fail again at $1,250 we may see
this support level broken to test $1,230 - $1,235," MKS PAMP
Group trader Sam Laughlin said.
    Spot gold is still targeting $1,237 per ounce, as it faces a
strong resistance zone of $1,247-$1,254, Reuters technical
analyst Wang Tao said.            
    "We suspect that short-term long positioning has become
extended and may be vulnerable to a correction," said Jeffrey
Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
    "A break of $1,242.50 should see some stop-loss sell action
appear as traders reduce longs, after which gold will most
likely move to the nuances of Washington D.C. headlines."
    Spot silver        fell 0.2 percent to $17.51 an ounce,
after hitting over two-week high of $17.69 in the prior session.
    Platinum        dropped 0.7 percent to $951.50. 
    Palladium        rose 0.4 percent to $801. It climbed to a
peak of $808.70 in the prior session, its highest since March
2015. 

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in BENGALURU; Editing by
Richard Pullin and Kenneth Maxwell)
  

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