SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Gold held above $1,660 an ounce on Wednesday, off a two-week high hit in the previous session after upbeat U.S. manufacturing data soothed worries about the economy and dampened hopes on more monetary easing.
* Spot gold was little changed at $1,661.79 an ounce by 0030 GMT, after rising to $1,671.20 in on Tuesday.
* U.S. gold traded nearly flat at $1,662.70.
* After a recent run of weak data, the Institute for Supply Management said that U.S. manufacturing grew in April at the fastest pace in 10 months, easing concerns the economy had lost momentum at the start of the second quarter.
* Investors will closely watch the European Central Bank rate decision on Thursday, U.S. non-farm payrolls data on Friday and weekend elections in France and Greece.
* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.33 percent on the day to a three-month low of 1,274.09 tonnes by May 1.
* U.S. auto sales rose 2.3 percent in April, helped by strong gains at Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) and Chrysler Group LLC, as American shoppers looked to replace their ageing cars and trucks and the broader U.S. economy showed signs of strength.
* The Dow closed at its highest level in more than four years on Tuesday after U.S. manufacturing expanded at a faster pace than expected in April, easing jitters about a slowdown in the economic recovery.
* The dollar held gains on the yen Wednesday having bounced from 2-1/2-month lows after upbeat U.S. manufacturing data soothed fears the economy was slowing, while Asia waited for the latest update on Chinese industry.
Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editin by Eric Meijer