PRECIOUS-Gold flat, set for weekly gain on technical buying
* Gold up 4 pct this week, set for biggest weekly rise in five
* Weak U.S. consumer confidence, housing starts weigh
* Silver extends winning streak to eight, outperforms gold
(Adds trader comment, byline, updates market activities; changes dateline) NEW YORK/LONDON, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Gold traded little changed on Friday as the market took a breather after the previous session's sharp rally, but bullion was still on track for its biggest weekly gain in five weeks driven by technical buying and fading hopes of a swift U.S. economic recovery. Silver rose over 1 percent, outperforming gold again, as speculative buying extended the grey metal's rally to an eighth consecutive session. Gold's appeal as an investment hedge increased after U.S. economic reports on Friday showed weaker consumer confidence in August and lower-than-expected residential construction last month. Friday's data suggested that a recent spike in interest rates, in anticipation of the Federal Reserve tapering its massive bond purchases as early as next month, was starting to have an impact on households, analysts said. "Uncertainty is re-entering the economy and making money managers think," said Carlos Perez-Santalla at futures brokerage Marex Spectron. "Although there seems to be a lot more risk opportunity on the upside, it will clearly take a break above the first level of resistance (near $1,376 an ounce) to see any new buyers." Spot gold was up 0.1 percent to $1,367.10 an ounce by 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT), having earlier touched a two-month high of $1,373.09. On Thursday, gold rallied over 2 percent as a drop in the U.S. dollar triggered short covering and a technical breakout once prices breached key resistance at $1,350 an ounce. For the week, it was up 4 percent, the biggest weekly rise since mid-July. U.S. gold futures for December climbed $4.60 to $1,366.20 an ounce, with trading volume on track to finish below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. On Wall Street, stock indexes turned flat on Friday, but were on track for their biggest weekly declines in months. Silver last traded up 1.2 percent to $23.24 after earlier rising to its highest in almost three months at $23.29 an ounce. The metal was heading for its best week since late October 2011, with gains of around 13 percent. Platinum edged up 0.1 percent at $1,522.50 an ounce while palladium was also up 0.1 percent to $759.97 an ounce.
Prices at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG US gold 1,366.20 4.60 0.3 -18.5% US silver 23.235 0.003 1.3 -23.1% US platinum 1,528.50 -3.80 -0.3 -0.7% US palladium 763.00 6.15 0.8 8.5% Gold 1,367.10 1.55 0.1 -18.3% Silver 23.24 0.28 1.2 -23.3% Platinum 1,522.50 0.80 0.1 -1.0% Palladium 759.97 0.97 0.1 8.3% Gold Fix 1,369.25 8.50 0.6 -17.7% Silver Fix 22.83 83.00 3.8 -23.8% Platinum Fix 1,524.00 6.00 0.4 0.1% Palladium Fix 762.00 8.00 1.1 9.0%
(Additional reporting by Jan Harvey in London and A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; editing by Veronica Brown, G Crosse)