* Healthcare vote likely later Friday
* Spot gold may test support at $1,237/oz - technicals
* Spot gold has risen more than 1 pct this week
* Palladium near 2-yr highs hit in prior session
By Sethuraman N R
March 24 Gold prices edged lower on Friday
against a backdrop of a rising dollar as markets waited to see
whether U.S. President Donald Trump succeeds in pushing through
healthcare reforms, viewed as a potential bellwether for his
ability to impose his economic and political agenda.
A rough ride for the healthcare plan could affect Trump's
efforts to cut taxes and boost infrastructure, with the
potential to drive more investors to gold as a safe haven if
stock markets fall, analysts and traders said
Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,242.31 per
ounce by 0651 GMT. On Thursday, it touched its strongest since
Feb. 28 at $1,253.12. The yellow metal was on track for its
second straight week of gains.
U.S. gold futures were down 0.4 percent at
"If the (healthcare) vote is to pass the reforms, gold could
face pressure. But, if it encounters problems, we might chase a
previous high at around $1,260," a precious metals trader said.
The dollar recouped a little lost ground on Friday amid
signs the delayed healthcare vote would go ahead later in the
day - though it remained unclear whether it would pass.
The dollar index , which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, rose 0.2 percent to 99.956. It
hit a seven-week low of 99.547 on Wednesday.
"The yellow metal continues to see solid interest underneath
$1,245, however should prices fail again at $1,250 we may see
this support level broken to test $1,230 - $1,235," MKS PAMP
Group trader Sam Laughlin said.
Spot gold is still targeting $1,237 per ounce, as it faces a
strong resistance zone of $1,247-$1,254, Reuters technical
analyst Wang Tao said.
"We suspect that short-term long positioning has become
extended and may be vulnerable to a correction," said Jeffrey
Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
"A break of $1,242.50 should see some stop-loss sell action
appear as traders reduce longs, after which gold will most
likely move to the nuances of Washington D.C. headlines."
Spot silver fell 0.2 percent to $17.51 an ounce,
after hitting over two-week high of $17.69 in the prior session.
Platinum dropped 0.7 percent to $951.50.
Palladium rose 0.4 percent to $801. It climbed to a
peak of $808.70 in the prior session, its highest since March
(Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in BENGALURU; Editing by
Richard Pullin and Kenneth Maxwell)