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PRECIOUS-Stimulus hopes set gold for best week in two months

    Oct 2 (Reuters) - Gold prices were on track for their best
week in nearly two months as renewed hopes for a new round of
fiscal stimulus from Washington cheered investors, despite a
slight easing on the day due to an uptick in the U.S. dollar.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was down 0.2% at $1,901.98 per ounce by
0034 GMT on Friday, after rising 1% to a 1-1/2-week high of
$1,911.66 in the previous session. 
    * Gold has gained more than 2% so far this week, its biggest
weekly percentage gain since week ended Aug. 7.
    * U.S. gold futures        were down 0.4% at $1,909.20.
    * The dollar index        rose 0.1% against its rivals,
making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.
      
    * The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless
benefits fell last week but remained at recession levels, while
personal income dropped in August, underscoring the need for
another government rescue package for businesses and the
unemployed.             
    * The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a
$2.2 trillion Democratic plan for fresh relief from the
coronavirus pandemic, though objections from the White House and
top Republicans are likely to doom it in the Senate.
            
    * Asian markets were little changed on Friday, as a U.S.
stimulus deal remained out of reach and investors waited on
fresh U.S. employment data for a read on the economic toll from
the pandemic.            
    * President Donald Trump's re-election campaign on Thursday
rejected calls for new rules to govern the next two debates
between him and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, after a first
matchup marred by constant interruptions and outbursts.
            
    * Silver        dropped 0.7% to $23.72 per ounce, platinum
       fell 0.4% to $892.22 and palladium        eased 0.2% to
$2,310.77.

    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
0130  Australia Retail Sales MM        Aug
1230  US        Non-Farm Payrolls      Sept
1230  US        Unemployment Rate      Sept
1230  US        Average Earnings YY    Sept
1400  US        Factor Orders MM       Aug
1400  US        U Mich Sentiment Final Sept

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry
Jacob-Phillips)
  
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