PRECIOUS-Gold steadies as investors eye U.S. election results

    Nov 4 (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Wednesday as investors
keenly watched the final few hours of a close U.S presidential
election, with a contested result was a possibility.
    * Spot gold        was little changed at $1,906.71 per ounce
by 0045 GMT, having hit a near two-weak peak of $1,916.06
earlier in the session.     
    * U.S. gold futures        edged 0.1% higher to $1,911.60
per ounce.    
    * National polls show Democrat Joe Biden leading the race
but President Donald Trump is close enough in several election
battleground states to retain the presidency.
    * The winner - who may not be determined for days - will
lead a nation strained by the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed
more than 231,000 people and left millions more jobless, racial
tensions and political polarization that has only worsened
during a vitriolic campaign. 
    * The dollar index        was flat against a basket of
currencies, having hit a one-week low earlier in the session.
    * New orders for U.S.-made goods increased solidly in
September, but further gains could be limited amid an
anticipated slowdown in consumer spending as government money
for businesses and workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
runs out.             
    * The Federal Open Market Committee begins its two-day
policy meeting later in the day, with policymakers expected to
reaffirm its commitment to support the pandemic-struck economy
and keep interest rates unchanged.             
    * Silver        fell 0.1% to $24.14 an ounce. Platinum
       dropped 0.4% to $863.25 and palladium        gained 0.2%
to $2,286.36/  

0900  EU Oct. Markit Serv, Comp Final PMIs 
1330  US Sept. International Trade          
1445  US Oct. Markit services, Comp Final PMIs 
1500  US Oct ISM non-manufacturing PMI 

 (Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna
Chandra Eluri)