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PRECIOUS-Gold up after mixed Fed signals, dollar stabilises

Clara Denina
Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 | 6:18 AM ET

* Market looks to Yellen comments set for Thursday

* Dollar, U.S. bond yields flat

* Lack of physical demand could weaken prices

(Updates throughout, changes dateline from SINGAPORE)

LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Wednesday, snapping a four-day fall, after U.S. Federal Reserve officials gave mixed signals on the timing for rolling back monetary stimulus and the dollar stabilised.

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart on Tuesday did not rule out a tapering of the quantitative easing programme at the Dec. 17-18 policy meeting, though he also said the Fed should keep policy very easy.

Spot gold gained 0.7 percent to $1,276.16 an ounce by 1055 GMT. It was still not far from a four-week low hit on Tuesday, when it fell as much as 1.7 percent to $1,260.89, its lowest since Oct. 15.

Attention now is on the comments that Fed President nominee Janet Yellen will make at her Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday.

"Investors are trying to assess the message of the Fed speakers to see if that is bullion-friendly," Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said.

"Gold has fallen so much that this is only a corrective bounce. We have to see what Yellen says tomorrow and how the U.S. data comes in over the next few weeks as to what that means for the Fed."

Comex gold futures for December edged up $4.50 to $1,279.10 an ounce.

Technically, the metal looks supported at $1,260 an ounce, while upside resistance stands in the $1,277-$1,281 area, ANZ analysts said.

The dollar was little changed against a basket of currencies, while 10-year U.S. yields stood flat at 2.76 percent, having risen almost 20 basis points since the payroll data last Friday.

As gold pays no interest, the movements in returns from U.S. bonds are closely watched by the bullion market.

The timing of any tapering of the Fed's $85 billion in monthly bond purchases has been a key factor driving gold prices this year. The metal has lost a fifth of its value so far after the central bank signalled it would start rolling back its stimulus before year-end.

Gold's drop below $1,300 has failed to attract buyers in Asia as customers expect prices to weaken further, analysts said.

"(There is) very anaemic bullion trading at the moment as physical players in Asia choose to stay away, with ... still some time before Chinese seasonal buying intensifies ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations," VTB Capital said in a note.

Dealers said physical demand had failed to pick up due to weaker regional currencies in Asia.

Silver was up 0.6 percent after dropping 3 percent in the previous session to a four-week low.

Spot platinum was up 0.2 percent at $1,432.49 an ounce. Spot palladium rose 0.2 percent to $739.25 an ounce.

(Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; Editing by Jane Baird)