PRECIOUS-Gold eases after four days of gains as dollar firms
SINGAPORE, July 24 (Reuters) - Gold slipped on Wednesday after hitting a fresh one-month high the session before as the dollar climbed off lows and investors took profits after four days of gains.
* Spot gold had dropped 0.3 percent to $1,343.56 an ounce by 0022 GMT, after rising to a one-month peak on Tuesday as speculators bought back bearish bets ahead of an option expiry later this week.
* Comex gold gained $9 to $1,343.40, while silver and platinum tracked gold lower.
* Spot gold has gained over $160 an ounce from a three-year low hit in late June after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. central bank would only start phasing out its stimulus when it was sure the economy was strong enough to stand on its own.
* World stock markets rose to near five-year highs on Tuesday, boosted by views that China was moving to support its cooling economy, while the dollar fell to one-month lows.
* The markets is waiting for the latest reading on China's manufacturing activity due at 0145 GMT for signs of economic growth in the world's second-biggest bullion consumer.
* Wall Street's multibillion-dollar commodity trading operations came under the political spotlight on Tuesday as a powerful U.S. Senate committee questioned whether commercial banks should control oil pipelines, power plants and metals warehouses.
* SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.16 percent to 929.76 tonnes on Tuesday.
* Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc reported a sharp drop in second-quarter profit on Tuesday and laid out a plan to cut medium-term spending in light of declining metal prices and global economic uncertainty.
* For the top stories on metals and other news, click , or
* The dollar stood at one-month lows early in Asia on Wednesday after extending a broad decline for a third session, giving beaten-down currencies such as the Australian dollar some breathing space.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0145 China HSBC manufacturing flash PMI 0658 France Markit manufacturing flash PMI 0728 Germany Markit manufacturing flash PMI 0758 Euro zone Markit manufacturing flash PMI 0758 Euro zone Markit services flash PMI 1258 U.S. Markit manufacturing flash PMI 1400 U.S. New home sales
Precious metals prices 0022 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1343.56 -3.93 -0.29 -19.77 Spot Silver 20.44 -0.01 -0.05 -32.50 Spot Platinum 1441.99 -5.51 -0.38 -6.06 Spot Palladium 739.72 0.72 +0.10 6.90 COMEX GOLD AUG3 1343.40 8.70 +0.65 -19.84 3087 COMEX SILVER SEP3 20.42 0.16 +0.79 -32.64 873 Euro/Dollar 1.3223 Dollar/Yen 99.47
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Joseph Radford)