March 4, 2020 / 2:06 AM / in a month

Gold steady after Fed-driven rally; stronger dollar, stocks cap gains

(Reuters) - Gold held steady on Wednesday following a sharp rise in the previous session on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s surprise rate cut, as a firmer dollar and strong uptick in risk sentiment limited bullion’s upside.

FILE PHOTO: Gold bars stacked in the safe deposit boxes room of the Pro Aurum gold house in Munich, Germany, August 14, 2019. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Spot gold XAU= was up 0.2% at $1,642.85 per ounce by 12:34 p.m. EST (1734 GMT).

U.S. gold futures GCv1 edged 0.1% lower to $1,643.50.

“We have a lot people focusing on U.S. equities right now, also gold is digesting some of the move that it had yesterday after the Fed rate cut,” said Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors.

Risk appetite among investors increased after a near sweep for Joe Biden in the Super Tuesday Democratic primaries, which lifted the U.S. index futures higher.

Gold notched its best performance since June 2016 on Tuesday, rising as much as 3.7%, after the U.S. central bank cut interest rates by 50 basis points, in an emergency move designed to shield the world’s largest economy from the impact of the coronavirus.

This was the Fed’s first cut outside of a scheduled meeting since the 2008 financial crisis.

“We have negative interest rates around the globe and probably we can see more negative interest rates in the future ... there is uncertainty from the virus lurking around, so investors have reasons to why gold should be in their portfolio,” Matousek added.

Lower U.S. interest rates put pressure on the dollar and bond yields, increasing the appeal of non-yielding bullion.

Limiting gold’s advance, the dollar index .DXY rose 0.4% after falling to a two-month low in the previous session.

Markets now await the Fed’s beige book report, which will offer the first snapshot from the central bank’s business contacts on how deeply the coronavirus is impacting the domestic economy.

“We assume that other central banks will follow the Fed’s example and will likewise loosen their monetary policy in the near future,” Commerzbank analysts wrote in a note.

“Gold prices are likely to climb further in the short term on the back of new easing measures by various central banks.”

Elsewhere, palladium XPD= eased 0.1% to $2,499.16 per ounce, while platinum XPT= dropped 0.5% to $870.71. Silver XAG= edged 0.2% higher to $17.21 an ounce.

Auto industry platinum demand will rise for the first time since 2016, but it will be too little to offset a decline in investment buying, leaving the market in surplus, the World Platinum Investment Council said.

Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Lisa Shumaker

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