PRECIOUS-Gold steady as bond sales ease Europe fears
SINGAPORE, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Spot gold traded steady just below $1,650 an ounce on Friday, headed for a second week of straight gains, after smooth sales of Spanish and Italian debt temporarily eased fears on the euro zone debt crisis.
* Spot gold was little changed at $1,648.79 an ounce by 0041 GMT, on course for a weekly gain of 1.9 percent.
* U.S. gold gained 0.2 percent to $1,650.50.
* A solid sale of Spanish and Italian debt and an upbeat comment on the euro zone economy helped the single currency stage a rally and send gold up for the third consecutive session on Thursday.
* Italy is scheduled to sell long-term bonds on Friday, which will continue to test investors' confidence in the European debt market.
* U.S. data showed that retail sales rose at the weakest pace in seven months in December and jobless benefits moved higher last week, suggesting the economic recovery is shaky despite a recent pick-up in growth.
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* The S&P 500 closed at a five-month high for the third day on Thursday but had difficulty extending gains in the face of lackluster economic data and another European bond market test.
* The euro held its ground in Asia on Friday, having risen broadly overnight after debt sales in Spain and Italy drew solid demand, raising expectations that an auction of longer-dated Italian bonds later in the day will also do well. * Oil prices were steady above $99 a barrel, after tumbling in the previous session on a report that a proposed European Union ban on imports of Iranian crude would be phased in over six months.
1000 EZ Eurostat trade nsa, EUR Nov 1200 JPMorgan Chase & Co earnings Q4 1330 U.S. International trade Nov 1445 U.S. Thomson Reuters/UMich consumer sentiment Jan 2030 U.S. CFTC commitment of traders data Weekly PRICES Precious metals prices 0041 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1648.79 -1.01 -0.06 5.43 Spot Silver 30.20 -0.06 -0.20 9.06 Spot Platinum 1484.49 -6.50 -0.44 6.57 Spot Palladium 630.50 -5.75 -0.90 -3.37 COMEX GOLD FEB2 1650.50 2.80 +0.17 5.34 1715 COMEX SILVER MAR2 30.23 0.11 +0.35 8.29 252 Euro/Dollar 1.2822 Dollar/Yen 76.79 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
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