SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Gold steadied after a five-day losing streak on Tuesday but was still trading near its lowest level in four months as stronger equities dented the metal’s investment-hedge appeal.
* Spot gold was flat near $1,244.46 an ounce by 0018 GMT. The five-day decline before Tuesday is the metal’s longest losing streak in nearly seven months.
* A global gauge of equities edged up to a more than six-year high on Monday after strong Chinese and U.S. factory data, while soft numbers out of Europe heightened expectations for action from the European Central Bank, pressuring the euro.
* Gold is often seen as an alternative investment to riskier assets such as stocks.
* Investors were eyeing physical demand in top consumer China, which returns from a holiday, to gauge bullion sales during the Dragon Boat festival.
* In news from gold producers, Centerra Gold Inc said it will begin to shut down operations at its Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan unless its new mine plan is approved by the government and permits are issued by June 13.
* Ecuador will invest gold held as monetary reserves in financial instruments in an operation with Goldman Sachs meant to boost the available cash without affecting the value of reserves, the central bank said.
* Platinum and palladium were edged higher on Tuesday as wage strikes in major producer South Africa dragged on for a fifth month.
* A South African labour court threw out an urgent application on Monday by the AMCU union to stop platinum firms communicating directly with miners, as both sides deliberated over government proposals to end the strike.
* The dollar hovered at its highest in over three months against a basket of major currencies early on Tuesday, having risen on the back of upbeat U.S. data and with the euro still in the doldrums.
Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Michael Perry