PRECIOUS-Gold falls to over two-month low on stronger dollar

    Sept 24 (Reuters) - Gold prices hit a more than two-month
trough on Thursday, weighed down by a robust dollar, with
investors looking to U.S. jobless claims data due later in the
day to further gauge the pace of a recovery in the world's
largest economy.
    * Spot gold        fell 0.3% to $1,858.08 per ounce by 0049
GMT. Prices earlier hit $1,853.32, the lowest level since July
    * U.S. gold futures        were down 0.3% to $1,862.30.
    * The dollar index        held firm near a more than
eight-week peak against rival currencies, as signs of an
economic slowdown in Europe and the U.S. renewed concerns about
a second wave of novel coronavirus infections.       
    * A firmer dollar makes bullion more expensive for holders
of other currencies.
    * U.S. business activity cooled in September, with gains at
factories offset by a retreat at services. Investors now await
weekly data, which is expected to show U.S. jobless claims fell
slightly but remained elevated.                          
    * Euro zone business growth ground to a halt this month as
the service industry slammed into reverse, knocked by a
resurgence in COVID-19 cases prompting governments to
reintroduce restrictions, a survey showed.             
    * Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday doubled down on
efforts to convince investors they will keep monetary policy
easy for years to allow unemployment to fall, emphasising that
interest rates will stay near zero until inflation gets to 2%
and stays there.              
    * Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.87% to 1,267.14 tonnes
on Wednesday.             
    * Silver        fell 2.8% to $22.23 per ounce, hitting a
more than two-month low earlier in the session. 
    * Platinum        was steady at $838.32 per ounce and
palladium        eased 0.1% to $2,217.90. 

    0645  France   Business Climate Mfg      Sept
    0800  Germany  Ifo Business Climate New  Sept
    0800  Germany  Ifo Curr Conditions New   Sept
    0800  Germany  Ifo Expectations New      Sept
    1230  US       Initial Jobless Clm       Weekly
    1400  US       New Home Sales-Units      Aug

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; editing by