SINGAPORE Gold held steady just above $1,300 on Thursday as the metal's safe-haven appeal was boosted by weaker equities, but gains were limited by a second day of outflows from gold funds.
Spot gold was flat at $1,302.96 an ounce by 0721 GMT. Asian markets were in skittish mood on Thursday following a soft finish on Wall Street and amid simmering tensions over Ukraine.
The metal fell to a six-week low of $1,298.29 in the previous session, trading below the $1,300 level briefly before moving back up.
"The technical outlook for gold is bearish, and barring sudden changes in fundamentals, this technical bearishness is likely to prevail over even slightly more optimistic sentiments from the fund side," said Joyce Liu, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
Liu said the 15-mintue chart reveals potential for the gold price to break below $1,300 per ounce soon.
Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 1.80 tonnes to 816.97 tonnes on Wednesday after losing 2.70 tonnes in the previous session.
Bullion has been under pressure recently, after hitting a six-month high of $1,391.76 earlier this month.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen last week suggested that interest rates could rise in the first half of 2015, raising the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and sparking a sharp retracement in prices.
Physical demand from key consumer Asia has also been weak.
Among other precious metals, platinum rose 0.6 percent on worries over supply constraints.
South Africa's government mediator met with the striking Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union on Wednesday to restart talks aimed at ending a crippling platinum strike now entering its tenth week.
Palladium was also supported by geopolitical tensions in Russia - the world's biggest producer of the metal.
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Richard Pullin and Gopakumar Warrier)
IKEA to continue doing business with Welspun India, awaits sales probe
NEW DELHI Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA AB said it would continue doing business with Welspun India while it awaits the outcome of the Indian textile manufacturer's probe into its sales practices.
India to receive normal rains, not surplus, as La Nina chances fade
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI India will receive normal rainfall over the 2016 monsoon season, not surplus as previously expected, with the chances of a La Nina weather pattern emerging over the period seen as unlikely, three senior officials at state-run weather department said.
Gold edges higher as dollar dips, Fed in focus
Gold rose slightly on Thursday after hitting a four-week low in the previous session, with the dollar losing strength ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that will be closely watched for clues on U.S. interest rate policy.