November 6, 2018 / 4:27 PM / 8 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold dips as stocks, dollar firm ahead of U.S. election outcome

(Updates prices)

* Markets await U.S. Fed meeting later this week

* SPDR Gold holdings fall for second session on Monday

* Platinum hits more than 4-month peak

* GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

By Swati Verma

BENGALURU, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Gold fell on Tuesday as U.S. equities and the dollar firmed ahead of the outcome of congressional elections in the United States, denting the precious metal's appeal.

Spot gold fell 0.4 percent to $1,226.46 per ounce as of 2:26 p.m. EST (1926 GMT), while U.S. gold futures settled down $6, or 0.49 percent, to $1,226.30.

"It seems that the equity markets are doing pretty well ahead of the results of the elections. Unless we see any surprises in the elections gold will continue to stay range bound between $1,215 and $1,235," said Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.

U.S. stocks rose and the dollar firmed, but the moves were limited by investor caution about the elections.

The midterm congressional vote marks the first major test of U.S. President Donald Trump's sweeping tax cuts and hostile trade policies. Polls point to his Republican party losing control of the House of Representatives which could curb some of his policymaking power.

"These elections could be important for gold if they slow the strength of the U.S. dollar, which has been a major headwind to gold this year, or stoke uncertainty among U.S. retail investors in gold should Trump lose support," Standard Chartered analysts said in a note.

"We maintain a positive view towards gold, and believe prices are likely to extend their gains towards $1,300 per ounce, especially if the U.S. dollar weakens after the U.S. midterm elections."

Market participants also waited for a two-day Federal Reserve meeting starting on Wednesday to gauge the outlook for U.S. monetary policy, analysts said.

While the Fed is expected to keep interest rates steady, markets will look for insight into the central bank's view on future interest rate increases. Higher rates discourage the buying of non-interest-paying bullion, which is priced in dollars.

"People are adjusting portfolios for the Fed meeting, that is what is in most investors' minds right now," said Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors.

"Going into the next couple of days gold trading should be pretty light, so we'll move around a bit. Nobody wants to hold big positions or make big changes before the Fed meeting."

Indicating investor sentiment toward gold, holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, fell for the second straight session to 757.29 tonnes on Monday.

Silver fell 0.7 percent to $14.53 per ounce while palladium declined 1.7 percent to $1,113.47.

Platinum gained 0.5 percent to $868.40 per ounce, having touched its highest since June 25 at $875.70 earlier in the session. (Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru Editing by Susan Thomas and Bernadette Baum)

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