December 7, 2017 / 12:50 PM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold falls below trading range, touches 4-month low as dollar firms

    * Gold touches lowest since Aug. 8 at $1,250.51/oz
    * Platinum on track for biggest weekly loss in nine months
    * GRAPHIC-2017 asset returns:

 (New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comment;
adds second byline and NEW YORK dateline)
    By Renita D. Young and Jan Harvey
    NEW YORK/LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Gold fell 1 percent on
Thursday, hitting a four-month bottom below its recent trading
range, as Wall Street stocks rose and the U.S. dollar
strengthened on optimism about passage of a U.S. tax overhaul.
    Spot gold        dropped 1 percent to $1,251.11 an ounce by
2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT), bouncing off a four-month low of
$1,250.51. U.S. gold futures        for February delivery
settled down $13, 1 percent, at $1,253.10 per ounce. 
    Gold broke out of its recent trading range this week after
slipping below its $1,267 200-day moving average. Since
mid-October, prices had stayed between $1,265 and $1,300 an
ounce as investors poured money into the stock market, which hit
a series of record highs.
    The stock market gains dicouraged gold buying, as did
expectations that the Federal Reserve would raise U.S. interest
rates this month. 
    "From a technical point of view, many traders had
stop-losses just below $1,262, and today the market is going
down for this reason," said ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo
Alberto de Casa.
    A stronger U.S. dollar also sparked selling of gold, he
said. The dollar touched a two-week high on Thursday on optimism
the United States would push through a Republican tax package by
a Dec. 22 deadline.                         
    Financial markets will watch U.S. non-farm payrolls data
Friday, a key barometer of the U.S. economy. Next week the U.S.
Federal Reserve is expected to announce a rise in interest rates
and offer guidance on the pace of further increases. 
    "The question is whether this weakness in gold is an image
of the December 2015 and 2016 charts, where the metals began
significant rallies after the rate increase announcement, or if
we are in a different paradigm this time around," Kitco Metals
Inc said in a note.
     Rising U.S. interest rates increase the opportunity cost of
holding non-yielding gold while boosting the dollar, in which it
is priced.  
    "In 2018, we're looking at a $1,325 price target," said
George Gero, managing director of RBC Wealth Management in New
    "There’s a lot to worry about with geopolitical and other
threats, and a possible stock market correction."
    Among other precious metals, silver        dropped 1.1
percent to $15.79 an ounce after slipping to its lowest since
mid-July at $15.72. 
    Platinum        slid 1.2 percent at $890.74 an ounce,
earlier touching its lowest since July 11 at $889.50. The metal
has fallen nearly 5 percent this week and is on track for its
biggest weekly loss in nine months.
    Palladium        was up 1.8 percent at $1,011 an ounce.

 (Additional reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; editing by
David Evans and David Gregorio)
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