PRECIOUS-Gold sticks to range as equity rally saps interest
SINGAPORE, March 12 (Reuters) - Gold perched above $1,580 an ounce on Tuesday, as an improved economic outlook provided little incentive to break out of recent ranges, while a record-setting equity rally lured investors away from the underperforming precious metal. The Dow industrial average hit a record high for the fifth consecutive session on Monday and posted a 10.3 percent gain so far this year, overshadowing spot gold's 5.3 percent loss.
* Spot gold was little changed at $1,580.81 an ounce by 0034 GMT. The metal has been trading between $1,560 to $1,585 since the start of March.
* U.S. gold inched up 0.1 percent to $1,580.10.
* The economic outlook in major industrialised economies is improving with the United States and Japan leading the way, the OECD said on Monday, adding that activity in the euro zone was also picking up.
* The U.S. budget saga continues. With little prospect of getting rid of the automatic spending cuts that kicked in on March 1, the U.S. Congress and the White House will move on to bigger budget battles this week as duelling Republican and Democratic proposals land in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
* The Japanese government's choice to lead the country's central bank promised on Monday to move quickly to implement fresh monetary stimulus to lift the struggling economy, a case underlined by a surprisingly sharp drop in a gauge of capital investment.
* Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, dropped to 1,236.729 tonnes on March 11, the lowest since October, 2011.
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* The yen carved out a fresh 3-1/2 year low versus the greenback on Tuesday and fell to a 4-1/2 year trough on the Australian dollar as investors reacted to a media report that the Bank of Japan might deliver bold stimulus sooner than expected.
* Wall Street rose modestly on Monday, lifting the Dow to another record and giving the S&P 500 its seventh straight advance as early weakness enticed buyers. The gains briefly lifted the benchmark S&P 500 index to its highest intraday level since October 2007.
0500 Japan Consumer confidence index 0530 India Industrial output 1130 U.S. NFIB business optimism index 1145 U.S. ICSC weekly chain store sales 1255 U.S. Redbook weekly retail sales
Precious metals prices 0034 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1580.81 0.42 +0.03 -5.60 Spot Silver 28.97 0.02 +0.07 -4.33 Spot Platinum 1599.74 6.34 +0.40 4.22 Spot Palladium 775.72 -0.34 -0.04 12.10 COMEX GOLD APR3 1580.10 2.10 +0.13 -5.71 2333 COMEX SILVER MAY3 28.97 0.12 +0.41 -4.17 375 Euro/Dollar 1.3027 Dollar/Yen 96.63
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Ed Davies)