October 10, 2016 / 5:41 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold gains as China's post-holiday return spurs buying

* Spot Gold may edge up to $1,276 before falling -technicals
    * SPDR Holdings rise 1.2 percent Friday
    * Specs cut net longs in COMEX gold to 4-mth lows
    * Platinum off 6-month lows touched Friday

 (Adds comments, updates prices)
    By Swati Verma
    BENGALURU, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Gold rose for the second
straight session on Monday, after falling in the preceding
eight, buoyed by post-holiday buying in China, while a slowdown
in U.S. job growth bolstered expectations that U.S. interest
rate hikes would only be gradual.
    Spot gold was up 0.5 percent at $1,262.43 an ounce by
0736 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 1 percent to $1,264.30
an ounce. 
    "Gold prices are quite appealing after the recent
correction. In China, what we see today is that there is some
demand to buy gold following its dip," said Richard Xu, a fund
manager at HuaAn Gold, China's top gold
exchange-traded fund (ETF).    
    Bullion touched a four month low of $1,241.20 on Friday.
Spot gold ended about 4.5 percent lower last week, its biggest
weekly decline since November 2015.
    "Early buying was evident from both speculators and physical
traders, with investors expecting the return of the Chinese -
after a week-long break - to see some decent buying," said Alex
Thorndike, senior precious metals dealer at MKS PAMP Group.
    U.S. employment growth eased for the third straight month in
September and the jobless rate rose, the Labor Department said
in a report on Friday. 
    The possibility of a near term rate hike weighed on gold
much of last week but the U.S. jobs data brought some relief and
prompted an almost immediate rally, HSBC analyst James Steel
said in a note.
    Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates,
which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding
bullion.
    Spot gold may break a resistance at $1,266 per ounce and
edge up to the next resistance at $1,276 before resuming its
downtrend, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
 
    The safe haven asset was fairly subdued in its reaction to
the second U.S. presidential debate between Democrat Hillary
Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, analysts said. 
    "Talks related to the presidential election don't count.
Once elected most candidates follow the same practices. They
don't opt for extreme measures like they promise in their
campaigns," said Mark To, head of research at Hong Kong's Wing
Fung Financial Group.
    Financial markets saw less chance of a victory by Trump in
his U.S. presidential bid amid a scandal over vulgar comments he
made about women. 
    Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 1.19 percent to 958.90
tonnes on Friday. 
    Hedge funds and money managers reduced their net long
positions in COMEX gold contracts to four-month lows in the week
to Oct. 4. 
    Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.6
percent at $17.61.
    Platinum edged 0.5 percent higher to $969.75 an
ounce, after touching a six-month low of $946.40 on Friday.
    Palladium gained about 1 percent at $671.23, snapping
five straight sessions of losses.

 (Reporting by Swati Verma and Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru;
Editing by Richard Pullin and Amrutha Gayathri)

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