PRECIOUS-Gold falls as U.S. equities rally, dollar gain weighs

* Gold's safe-haven bids seen short-lived -analyst

* Platinum drops as S.African producers, miners resume talks

* Investors await U.S. payrolls data on Friday

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NEW YORK/LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Gold dropped on Tuesday after posting a one-percent rally in the previous session, as steadier U.S. equities and a stronger dollar prompted investors to unwind some of their safety bets in bullion.

A resumption in wage talks between South Africa's top platinum producers and their miners eased supply worries in platinum, briefly sending the metal to its lowest level this year.

On Monday, gold rallied after disappointing manufacturing data from the United States and China pummelled Wall Street, while jitters about emerging markets bolstered an investor flight to safety.

"The gold positive flows from the loss of risk appetite, as a result of emerging-market turmoil, provided support but it was limited and short lived," said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities.

"So far, institutional investors continue to stay clear, while hedge funds are only engaging on a relatively small scale on the long side," said Melek.

Spot gold fell 0.4 percent to $1,251.66 an ounce by 12:21 p.m. EST (1721 GMT).

U.S. April COMEX gold futures were down $8.20 to $1,251.70 an ounce, with trading volume on track to finish sharply below its 250-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.

The dollar edged up 0.2 percent versus a basket of main currencies. The U.S. currency has rallied recently on turbulence in emerging markets as investors shifted money to traditional safe havens in the developed world.

A rebound in U.S. stocks also dampened gold's safe-haven appeal. The S&P 500 index rose nearly 1 percent on sturdy corporate results, as the market fought to regain its footing following its largest selloff in months a day earlier.

Bullion has gained around 4 percent so far this year, after a 28 percent drop in 2013, as slowing growth in China and capital outflows from emerging nations hit equity markets.

Gold, usually regarded as a safe haven, tends to appreciate when riskier assets like equities lose ground, as investors look for alternatives to protect their money.

Market focus will now turn to Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls report for further clues on the state of the U.S. economy.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.5 percent to $19.43 an ounce. Palladium edged down 0.3 percent to $697.25 an ounce, having earlier fallen to its lowest since Dec. 26 at $692.50.

Platinum fell 0.8 percent to $1,368.25 an ounce, as wage talks resumed between South Africa's AMCU miners' union and the world's top three platinum producers with hopes to end a nearly two-week strike.

(Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; Editing by Susan Fenton, David Evans and Meredith Mazzilli)