April 19 Gold held steady on Wednesday,
supported by a weaker dollar, geopolitical concerns about North
Korea and nervousness ahead of the French presidential election.
* Spot gold was down 90 cents at $1,288.39 per ounce
as of 0055 GMT. The metal hit its highest since early November
at $1,295.42 on Monday before closing lower, and rose 0.4
percent on Tuesday.
* U.S. gold futures were down 0.3 percent at
* The dollar index was hovering near a three-week low
on disappointing U.S. housing starts data and nervousness over
trade talks between the United States and Japan.
* U.S. homebuilding fell in March after unseasonably mild
weather buoyed activity in February and manufacturing output
dropped for the first time in seven months, further indications
that economic growth braked sharply in the first quarter.
* U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reassured Japan of American
commitment to reining in North Korea's nuclear and missile
ambitions on Tuesday, after warning that U.S. strikes in Syria
and Afghanistan showed the strength of its resolve.
* In France, investors remained nervous ahead of the first
round of the country's presidential election this Sunday, even
though an opinion poll put centrist Emmanuel Macron first, just
ahead of far-right, anti-euro candidate Marine Le Pen.
* British Prime Minister Theresa May's call for a snap
general election added to a lengthening list of uncertainties
for investors already on edge over geopolitical tensions that
also include Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey and U.S. relations with
Russia and China.
* The International Monetary Fund raised its 2017 global
growth forecast on Tuesday due to manufacturing and trade gains
in Europe, Japan and China, but warned that protectionist
policies threaten to choke a broad-based recovery.
* Prices in China's sizzling property market, a major driver
of growth in the world's second largest economy, accelerated in
March on a monthly basis, shaking off the impact of recent
cooling measures introduced to dampen speculative demand.
DATA AHEAD (GMT)
0900 Euro zone Eurostat trade Feb
0900 Euro zone Inflation final Mar
1800 U.S. Federal Reserve's Beige Book
(Reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by