PRECIOUS-Gold inches up as sluggish data supports Fed's stimulus
SINGAPORE, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Gold inched up on Friday, extending gains from the previous session as lacklustre U.S. data bolstered expectations that the Federal Reserve's monetary stimulus would stay in place.
* Spot gold inched up 0.1 percent to $1,577.44 an ounce by 0037 GMT, on course for a nearly 2 percent weekly decline, its second week in the red.
* U.S. gold was little changed at $1,577.50.
* A raft of U.S. economic data on Thursday, from claims for jobless aid to factory activity and consumer prices, pointed to a still tepid recovery and supported the argument for the Federal Reserve to maintain its monetary stimulus.
* Two top Federal Reserve officials on Thursday signalled support for scaling back the U.S. central bank's aggressive bond-buying program, adding fuel to a contentious debate over how long the Fed should continue its extraordinary measures to support the economy.
* Thursday's Flash Eurozone Services PMI (purchasing managers index) fell below expectations, suggesting the downturn in the region's businesses worsened and dashing hopes that the region's economy might soon emerge from recession.
* Switzerland remained a net exporter of platinum and palladium in January, continuing December's trend, data from the Swiss customs bureau showed on Thursday.
* Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, dropped 8.89 tonnes to 1,290.306 tonnes on Feb. 21, the lowest in more than five months. The holdings have fallen more than 32 tonnes, or 2 percent, so far this week.
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* U.S. stocks fell for a second straight day on Thursday and the S&P 500 posted its worst two-day loss since November after reports cast doubt over the health of the U.S. and euro-zone economies.
* The dollar inched lower on Friday against a basket of currencies, but remained near a 5-1/2-month top hit in the previous session.
0130 China Housing prices
0700 Germany Detailed Q4 GDP 0900 Germany Ifo business climate
1000 Italy Consumer confidence
Precious metals prices 0037 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1577.44 1.78 +0.11 -5.80 Spot Silver 28.72 0.08 +0.28 -5.15 Spot Platinum 1619.24 8.50 +0.53 5.49 Spot Palladium 732.47 4.00 +0.55 5.85 COMEX GOLD APR3 1577.50 -1.10 -0.07 -5.87 2330 COMEX SILVER MAR3 28.71 0.01 +0.02 -5.04 717 Euro/Dollar 1.3190 Dollar/Yen 93.19
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Richard Pullin)