PRECIOUS-Gold holds near 3-mth high; technical support for test of $1,300

* Gold little changed near three-month highs

* Technical buying could push prices above $1,300 today -trader

* Chinese buying eases with price gains

(Updates prices) SINGAPORE, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Gold hovered near a three-month high on Thursday and appeared capable of breaking the $1,300 level, as expectations of a gradual tapering of the U.S. monetary stimulus offset any negative impact from firmer equities markets. Spot gold eased slightly to $1,289.10 an ounce by 0713 GMT, not far from a three-month high of $1,295.91 reached on Wednesday. Traders said there was technical support seen for a potential test of the $1,300 level last seen on Nov.8. Gold, considered a safe-haven, often moves in the opposite direction to equities, seen as riskier assets, though that inverse correlation has not held in recent days. "There doesn't seem to be any logic with gold going up when stocks and U.S. Treasury yields are higher," said one Hong Kong-based precious metals trader. "But, I think there is enough technical momentum to carry prices above $1,300 today when New York opens. There is room up to the $1,310-$1,315 area." Asian markets came off three-week highs on Thursday, breaking a five-session winning streak that had been built on signs that the global economy was strengthening, and relief that the U.S. Federal Reserve would maintain its policy stance.

The central bank's new chairwoman, Janet Yellen, said earlier this week she would not make any abrupt changes to the Fed's commitment to gradually rein in monetary stimulus. Some investors were also hoping that recent weak jobs data would prompt the Fed to take a slower approach to tapering its monthly bond purchases. "In the near-term, a convincing close above the psychological $1,300 level may lend additional support for bullion, while a failure to break this threshold may be seen as inviting for investor profit taking," HSBC said in a note. "Gold may need a compelling reason to hold onto gains over $1,300 lest profit taking chips away at gains." Physical demand will likely slow down if prices go above $1,300. Buying from China, the world's biggest gold consumer, has already been falling off since the beginning of this week when trading volumes hit their highest since May. Premiums for 99.99 percent purity gold fell to $5 on Thursday from $7 in the previous session.


Metal Last Change Pct chg Spot gold 1289.1 -1.54 -0.12 Spot silver 20.17 -0.06 -0.3 Spot platinum 1392.1 -9.9 -0.71 Spot palladium 724.75 0.35 0.05 Comex gold 1289.4 -5.6 -0.43 Comex silver 20.195 -0.146 -0.72 Euro 1.3628 DXY 80.493

COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Pullin, Ed Davies and Simon Cameron-Moore)