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PRECIOUS-Gold near 2-week high as market awaits Yellen testimony

SINGAPORE, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Gold was trading near its highest in two weeks on Tuesday ahead of Congressional testimony by the new chief of the Federal Reserve, on hopes that the U.S. central bank may rethink the pace of its stimulus tapering.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was little changed at $1,273.86 an ounce by 0016 GMT, after gaining 1.4 percent in the past two sessions. The metal hit a two-week high of $1,277.70 on Monday.

* Fed Chair Janet Yellen gives her first testimony before the House Financial Services Committee at 1500 GMT, and will likely face questions on the state of the labour market and the future pace of tapering.

* Recent weak economic data, including Friday's nonfarm payrolls report, has many in the market hoping that the wind down of the bond-buying stimulus would be slowed.

* Workers at AngloGold Ashanti's Sadiola and Yatela gold mines in Mali started a five-day strike on Monday, demanding better redundancy payouts.

* The world's top platinum producers and the AMCU union will hold separate meetings with a South African state mediator this week to discuss a stoppage over wages but no talks are scheduled between the companies and the union.

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MARKET NEWS

* Asian markets settled in for a session of consolidation on Tuesday as investors waited to hear Yellen's outlook for the economy and policy.

DATA/EVENTS 1230 U.S. NFIB business optimism 1245 U.S. ICSC weekly chain store sales 1500 U.S. Wholesale inventories 1500 Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on the U.S. economy and monetary policy before the House Financial Services Committee

PRICES AT 0016 GMT

Metal Last Change Pct chg Spot gold 1273.86 -0.43 -0.03 Spot silver 20.04 0.01 0.05 Spot platinum 1381.25 0 0 Spot palladium 714.22 -0.53 -0.07 Comex gold 1274 -0.7 -0.05 Comex silver 20.065 -0.047 -0.23 Euro 1.3643 DXY 80.637

COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Pullin)