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PRECIOUS-Gold gains as stocks fall after report of Trump probe

    BENGALURU, June 15 Gold edged up early on
Thursday from a near three-week low hit in the previous session,
as Asian stocks fell on a report that U.S. President Donald
Trump is being investigated for possible obstruction of justice.
   
    FUNDAMENTALS    
    * Spot gold        rose 0.2 percent to $1,263.70 per ounce
by 0107 GMT.
    * U.S. gold futures         for August delivery fell 0.8
percent to $1,265.90 per ounce.
    * Spot gold hit a session low of $1,256.65 on Wednesday, its
weakest since May 26 after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised
interest rates for the second time in three months.   
    * U.S. stock futures dipped and Asian shares were on the
defensive on Thursday with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific
shares outside Japan                 dipping 0.3 percent.
            
    * Trump is being investigated by special counsel Robert
Mueller for possible obstruction of justice, the Washington Post
reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified officials.
                
    * The Fed raised interest rates on Wednesday for the second
time in three months and said it would begin cutting its
holdings of bonds and other securities this year, signaling its
confidence in a growing U.S. economy and strengthening job
market.             
    * However, U.S. consumer prices unexpectedly fell in May and
retail sales recorded their biggest drop in 16 months,
suggesting a softening in domestic demand that could limit the
Fed's ability to continue raising interest rates this year.
            
    * Wall Street's top banks brought forward their expectations
for when they think the Fed will begin reducing its $4.5
trillion bond portfolio to as early September, and see balance
sheet reduction as more of a priority than another interest rate
rise, a Reuters poll showed.             
    * British Prime Minister Theresa May edged closer to
clinching a deal to stay in power with the support of Northern
Irish kingmakers on Wednesday, but faced a battle over Brexit
just days before divorce talks are due to begin.             
    * CME raised palladium futures NYMEX (PA) initial margins
for speculators by 12.5 percent to $4,950 per contract from
$4,400, effective after close of business on Thursday.
             
    * Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 1.40 percent to 854.87
tonnes on Wednesday.          
    
    DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT) 
     0830  Britain                Retail sales               May
     0900  Euro zone              Eurostat trade             Apr
     1100  Bank of England announces interest rate decision
     1230  U.S.                   New York Fed manufacturing Jun
     1230  U.S.                   Import prices              May
     1230  U.S.                   Export prices              May
     1230  U.S.                   Weekly jobless claims 
     1230  U.S.                   Philly Fed business index  Jun
     1315  U.S.                   Industrial production      May
     1400  U.S.                   NAHB housing market index  Jun

 (Reporting by Nithin Prasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
Pullin)
  
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