PRECIOUS-Gold edges up as investors digest Yellen comments

* Fed could take 5-8 years to shrink portfolio -Yellen

* Chart support, Ukraine tensions hold gold in range

(Adds comment, second byline, dateline, updates market activities) NEW YORK/LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) - Gold edged up on Thursday after the previous day's more than 1 percent drop as investors digested comments by Federal Reserve Chair Yellen that the central bank is in no rush to reduce the size of its balance sheet. Prices of the yellow metal were also supported by geopolitical tensions as Pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine ignored a call by Russian President Vladimir Putin to postpone a referendum on self-rule, a move that could lead to war. Gold was pressured by technical selling and the dollar's strength after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's comments that the bank may act to stem falling inflation at its June meeting knocked the euro. "Bullion's inability to break over the 50-day moving average of $1,315 an ounce may have led to liquidations by disappointed investors," said James Steel, chief precious metals analyst at HSBC. "Weak prices near term may continue until geopolitical tensions or fresh physical buying halt losses." The metal's ability to hold key technical support at its 100-day average near $1,285 triggered some buying, analysts said. Spot gold inched up 0.1 percent to $1,290.11 an ounce U.S. COMEX gold futures for June delivery settled down $1.20 an ounce at $1,287.70, with trading volume in line with its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. The U.S. Federal Reserve is in no rush to decide the appropriate size of its balance sheet, but if it ultimately shrinks it to a pre-crisis size, the process could take the better part of a decade, Yellen said on Thursday in testimony to a Senate panel. Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.8 percent at $19.15. Platinum gained 0.5 percent to $1,436 an ounce, while palladium rose 0.7 percent to $801.25 an ounce.

2:55 PM EST LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL US Gold JUN 1287.70 -1.20 -0.1 1284.80 1295.50 110,378 US Silver MAY 19.094 -0.204 -1.1 19.105 19.315 194 US Plat JUL 1438.10 3.30 0.2 1425.10 1444.00 10,102 US Pall JUN 804.05 7.35 0.9 797.00 807.00 5,055 Gold 1290.11 1.17 0.1 1285.90 1294.70 Silver 19.150 -0.150 -0.8 19.130 19.370 Platinum 1436.00 7.40 0.5 1426.50 1440.60 Palladium 801.25 5.75 0.7 798.80 805.50 TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG US Gold 128,294 128,753 179,541 15.17 -0.30 US Silver 32,837 63,743 55,912 23.06 0.67 US Platinum 10,236 9,005 12,419 15.51 -0.67 US Palladium 5,829 5,780 5,686 25.43 0.35

(Reporting by Frank Tang. Editing by Andre Grenon)