Gold held on Wednesday near a three-week low hit in the previous session on rising equities and a firmer dollar as markets waited for cues on an U.S. interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve later in the day.
* Spot gold was down 50 cents at $1,256.29 per ounce, as of 0048 GMT. Bullion on Tuesday hit $1,251.37 per ounce, its lowest since April 10.
* U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,257.20 an ounce.
* Stock markets inched higher on Wednesday and investors awaited the outcome of a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting to be announced at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT).
* The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to hold interest rates steady at its meeting this week as it pauses to parse more economic data but may hint it is on track for an increase in June.
* The market’s so-called fear gauge, the VIX volatility index , fell to its lowest since 2007 on Monday.
* The U.S. dollar has been and will likely continue to be on a gentle weakening pattern, Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive at DoubleLine Capital, said on an investor webcast late on Tuesday.
* Sales of gold products by Australia’s Perth Mint slumped to the lowest monthly figure in five years in April as prices remained steady despite strong fundamentals and simmering geopolitical tensions, the company said on Tuesday.
* The European Central Bank bought more French and Italian bonds than its own rules allow last month, which probably helped keep financial markets calm in the tense run-up to the first round of France’s presidential vote. * Factories across much of Asia got off to a solid start in the second quarter, buoyed by strong global demand, particularly for hi-tech gadgets which are leading a sizzling rally in electronics.
* Promising to cut pensions and give taxpayers fewer breaks, Greece has paved the way for the disbursement of further rescue funds from international lenders and possibly opened the door to reworking its massive debt. * European manufacturers began the second quarter at a brisk pace, with the euro zone’s factories increasing activity at the fastest rate in six years and Britain’s still benefiting from a weak currency, surveys showed.