July 6, 2020 / 3:44 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold ticks higher as virus fears counter gains in equities

* Asian shares climb to four-month peak

* U.S. services sector data due at 1345 GMT

* Spot gold biased to break resistance at $1,778/oz- technicals

* Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser (Recasts, updates prices)

By Brijesh Patel

July 6 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher on Monday, supported by worries over surging coronavirus cases, while an uptick in risk appetite among investors limited upside for the safe-haven metal.

Spot gold was up 0.1% to $1,776.29 per ounce by 0709 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,785.

“We’re seeing some big gains in Hong Kong and Chinese share markets,” and that sort of growth-positive movement is generally expected to weigh on gold, said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets.

Asian shares scaled a four-month high on bets for super-cheap liquidity and fiscal stimulus to sustain the global economic recovery, with investors awaiting U.S. services sector activity data for June later in the day.

Financial markets have regained lost ground as a raft of positive economic readings lifted sentiment, although a spike in COVID-19 cases renewed worries about a swift economic recovery.

However, the huge amount of stimulus and evidence in other markets signalling a shift in focus back towards infection rates could help gold “maintain its elevated status,” CMC’s McCarthy said.

In the first four days of July alone, 15 U.S. states reported record increases in new cases of COVID-19, which has killed around 130,000 Americans.

“With increasing number of U.S. states imposing lockdowns again, it should result in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet continuing to grow and interest rates kept low, which would in turn provide underlying support for gold markets,” Phillip Futures said in a note.

Lower interest rates and widespread central bank stimulus tend to support bullion, which has risen nearly 17% so far this year.

On the technical front, spot gold is biased to break a resistance at $1,778 per ounce and rise into $1,788-$1,795 range, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Palladium fell 0.7% to $1,910.61 per ounce, while platinum rose 1.7% to $813.79. Silver gained 0.2% to $18.07.

Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Rashmi Aich

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