PRECIOUS-Gold flat as Dow's record run hits safe-haven bids
* Dow now breaks through levels last seen in 2007
* Outflow in gold ETF holdings continue but seen slowing
* Platinum group metals outperform on S. Africa strike
(Updates throughout, changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON) NEW YORK, March 5 (Reuters) - Gold traded flat on Tuesday, paring earlier gains as an equities rally and economic optimism reflected by the Dow Jones industrial average's run to its record high sapped demand for safe havens. Platinum group metals rose sharply as a fresh strike in South African mines stirred supply fears. Bullion was initially supported after China said it planned to increase spending and to set its 2013 growth target at 7.5 percent. Hopes of a strengthening U.S. economic outlook and the Dow's surge to an all-time high triggered bullion selling. "As long as equities keep hitting new highs, investors are not going to look toward gold. The focus is on equities right now and it doesn't seem to be toward safe havens," said Howard Wen, metals analyst at HSBC. Spot gold, which has fallen 6 percent since the beginning of the year, was down 18 cents at $1,573.16 an ounce U.S. COMEX gold futures for April delivery edged up 10 cents to $1,572.50, with trading volume on track to finish below average, preliminary Reuters data showed. Silver was unchanged at $28.55 an ounce, tracking gold to erase its earlier gains.
ETF OUTFLOW TO BOTTOM OUT? Appetite for gold-backed exchange-traded funds remained soft, with the world's largest gold ETF SPDR Gold Shares reporting a tenth straight daily outflow of bullion holdings on Monday, this time of 0.6 tonnes. The fund reported its largest ever monthly outflow last in February and has seen holdings fall by 97.5 tonnes since the start of the year, compared to a 39-tonne rise in the same period of 2012. "The rate of decline is starting to slow after February's huge drop. Once that bottoms out, prices should stabilize," said HSBC's Wen. Among platinum group metals, platinum was up 0.9 percent to $1,579.24 an ounce, while palladium rose 2.3 percent to $731.22 an ounce. Platinum prices rose sharply after news of fresh labour unrest at the world's number three platinum miner Lonmin , which said on Tuesday thousands of workers at its Marikana mine had gone on an illegal strike. Prices at 12:47 p.m. EST (1747 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG US gold 1572.50 0.10 0.0% -6.2% US silver 28.560 0.064 0.2% -5.5% US platinum 1583.70 17.50 1.1% 2.9% US palladium 734.80 20.35 2.9% 4.5%Gold 1573.16 -0.18 0.0% -6.0% Silver 28.55 0.00 0.0% -5.8% Platinum 1579.24 14.31 0.9% 2.7% Palladium 731.22 16.75 2.3% 4.2%Gold Fix 1579.75 -4.50 -0.3% -5.1% Silver Fix 28.93 24.00 0.8% -3.4% Platinum Fix 1587.00 6.00 0.4% 4.2% Palladium Fix 728.00 4.00 0.6% 4.1%
(Additional reporting by Jan Harvey and Natalie Huet in London, Rujun Shen in Singapore)