PRECIOUS-Gold up after US payrolls data, set for weekly gain
* Gold trims gains after top Fed official paints upbeat outlook
* India central bank to introduce gold-linked products
* Turkish gold imports rise to 11.27 T in January
* Coming up: U.S. factory orders Monday
(New updates throughout, changes byline, dateline, previously LONDON) NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Gold rose in line with equities and commodities on Friday, set for a weekly gain, after U.S. nonfarm payrolls data showed modest job growth in January. Bullion prices climbed after the Labor Department also said U.S. job gains in the prior two months were bigger than initially reported, supporting views the economy's sluggish recovery was on track despite a surprise contraction in output in the final three months of 2012. Other data showing improved U.S. factory activity and better consumer confidence data also sent the Dow above 14,000 points for the first time since October 2007, lifting gold and industrial commodities, led by crude oil. The decent payrolls data and signs of a recovering U.S. economy, however, have dampened gold's investment case as a hedge against further monetary stimulus by the Federal Reserve and its safe-haven appeal, an analyst said. "As an investor, I really do struggle with gold because along with any other commodities, gold does not have a yield, so the actual investment case of holding it is shaky," said Frances Hudson, global thematic strategist at Standard Life Investments, who helps manage its $247 billion in assets. Spot gold was up 0.6 percent at $1,672.51 an ounce by 12:27 p.m. EST (1727 GMT), retreating from an earlier high of $1,681.70. The metal briefly turned lower in a knee-jerk sell-off after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the U.S. economy is on track for a better performance this year, which will put the central bank in a position to slow or halt its massive bond-buying program. U.S. gold futures for April delivery were up $11.50 an ounce at $1,673.50, with trading volume set to finish in line with its 250-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. Gold is set to rise almost 1 percent this week, offsetting some of the previous week's 1.5 percent loss. It remains flat on the year, however, as signs of improvement in the U.S. and euro zone economies boosted investor appetite for other assets. Gold's link to stocks and industrial commodities has been largely erratic over the past year. Earlier this week, data showing a surprise shrinkage in the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter boosted bullion prices while weighing down on equities. Spot silver was up 1.6 percent at $31.92 an ounce, as the more volatile metal outperformed gold.
TECHNICALS, FUNDAMENTALS The market is digesting news India's central bank plans to introduce three to four gold-linked products in the next few months, in an effort to bring 20,000 tonnes of gold held in households into the banking system. India is the largest importer of gold. Meanwhile, Turkish gold imports rose to 11.27 tonnes in January from 2.96 tonnes a year before. Among platinum group metals, platinum was up 0.7 percent at $1,687.74 an ounce, while palladium was up 1.9 percent at $754.50 an ounce. CME Group, the largest U.S. operator of futures exchanges, said it would add platinum and palladium options to its Globex electronic platform from late in February in a move to capitalize on growing investor interest in the metals.
Prices at 12:27 p.m. EST (1727 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG US gold 1673.50 11.50 0.7% -0.1% US silver 31.955 0.604 1.9% 5.7% US platinum 1693.30 17.90 1.1% 10.0% US palladium 756.80 11.10 1.5% 7.6%Gold 1672.51 9.52 0.6% -0.1% Silver 31.92 0.51 1.6% 5.3% Platinum 1687.74 11.49 0.7% 9.8% Palladium 754.50 14.03 1.9% 7.5%Gold Fix 1669.00 4.00 0.2% 0.3% Silver Fix 31.43 -60.00 -1.9% 4.9% Platinum Fix 1687.00 15.00 0.9% 10.8% Palladium Fix 745.00 0.00 0.0% 6.6%
(Additional reporting by Jan Harvey in London; Editing by Nick Zieminski)