November 4, 2019 / 3:27 PM / 14 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold eases on upbeat risk sentiment

* U.S. stocks open at record highs

* Markets await Lagarde’s first speech as new ECB head

* Platinum hits over 1-month peak (Updates prices)

By Asha Sistla

Nov 4 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower on Monday as investors leaned towards riskier assets, driven by optimism on U.S.-China trade talks and fading fears of a global economic slowdown.

Spot gold was down 0.4% at $1,507.71 per ounce as of 02:41 p.m. EST (1941 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled mostly unchanged at $1,511.10.

“For now, we are responding somewhat negatively to a robust equity market. There’s less interest to buy gold as a hedge, no big reason particularly since equity markets have done so well,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.

There may be no safe-haven demand for gold at least in the short run, he added.

Wall Street’s three main indexes opened at all-time highs as tech stocks gained on optimism over a U.S.-China trade deal and an improving domestic economy.

Washington and Beijing said on Friday they made progress in talks aimed at defusing a nearly 16-month-long trade war that has harmed the global economy, and U.S. officials said a deal could be signed this month.

Markets drew further optimism from U.S. economic data last week that eased apprehensions of a slowdown fuelled by the trade war.

Last week, the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the third time this year, but signalled no further reductions unless the economy takes a turn for the worse.

In Europe, the European Central Bank’s new head, Christine Lagarde, will give her first speech in the role later in the day. Markets expect her to stick to an easy policy script left by her predecessor, Mario Draghi.

“The overall backdrop for gold with the shaky global growth, uncertainties related to trade tensions, weakening U.S. dollar that remains in place as we’re moving into 2020 - based on that we believe that gold will be higher,” said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.

Speculators increased their net long positions in both gold and silver in the week to Oct. 29, data showed.

On the technical front, resistance for gold lay at $1,520.90 an ounce and then $1,525.00, while support was around $1,505.40 and further, at $1,500.00, Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim Wyckoff said in a note.

Among other metals, silver eased 0.3% to $18.04 per ounce.

Platinum fell 1.2% to $934.75 per ounce, having earlier hit its highest since Sept. 25 at $955.75

Palladium slipped 1.5% to $1,777.93 an ounce.

“Things will improve for the automotive industry next year and that means catalyst metals will be in more demand so we would not be surprised at all to see palladium move above $2,000 next year,” TD Securities’ Melek said. (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang)

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