Gold held below a 3-1\/2-month high on Monday, as mixed US economic data added to uncertainty over whether the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates this year. FUNDAMENTALS Spot gold was steady at $1,176.11 an ounce by 0052 GMT, after dipping 0.5 percent on Friday on a stronger dollar. The metal came under pressure on Friday after data showed US consumer sentiment rebounded strongly in early October, suggesting that the economic recovery remained on track despite headwinds from a strong dollar and weak global demand. Inflation data on Thursday had also helped the dollar move away from seven-week lows as it rekindled expectations the Fed could raise rates for the first time in nearly a decade in December. A separate report on Friday, however, showed industrial output slipped 0.2 percent on renewed weakness in oil and gas drilling. Before the drop on Friday, gold had rallied to a 3-1\/2-month high of $1,190.63 as investors bet the Fed could be forced to delay a rate hike to next year due to sluggishness in the US economy amid a slack in the global economy. Investors sentiment towards gold has improved in recent weeks. Hedge funds and money managers raised their bullish bets in COMEX gold and silver to near five-month highs in the week ended Oct. 13, US government data showed on Friday. Other data, however, showed a drop in assets of SPDR Gold Trust, the top gold-backed exchange-traded fund, by 0.89 percent to 693.75 tonnes on Friday.