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PRECIOUS-Gold extends losses to below $1,300 as equities gain

SINGAPORE, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Gold extended losses into a second session on Monday, slipping below $1,300 an ounce on technical selling and as equities recovered after an initial sell-off over escalating tensions in Ukraine.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold had fallen 0.4 percent to $1,299.54 an ounce by 0032 GMT, after dropping 0.6 percent on Friday. U.S. gold fell about $5 to $1,301.

* Gold prices dipped below the key psychological level of $1,300 an ounce after falling through support at the 50-day moving average near $1,304.

* Ukrainian forces have raised their national flag over a police station in the city of Luhansk that was for months under rebel control, Kiev said on Sunday, in what could be a breakthrough in Ukraine's efforts to crush pro-Moscow separatists.

* News on Friday that Ukrainian forces destroyed a Russian military column in Ukrainian territory initially hit Wall Street, drove down government bond yields and boosted safe-haven currencies like the yen and Swiss franc. U.S. stocks eventually pared their losses as risk appetite partially returned.

* Hedge funds and money managers boosted their bullish bets on gold futures and options for the first time in three weeks, as the metal's prices climbed on rising geopolitical tensions, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.

* The silver market ushered in a new era of electronic benchmarking on Friday after a regulatory drive for transparency brought the 117-year-old silver 'fix' to an end. Persistently soft demand for gold in Asia has stoked worries that buying will fail to pick up in the second half of the year, when it is normally stronger, bullion traders and dealers said.

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MARKET NEWS

* Asian stocks edged up early on Monday after seeing Wall Street recover from the latest round of tensions in the Ukrainian crisis, while the dollar was on the back foot against the safe-haven yen, weighed by a slide in Treasury yields.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0130 China house prices July 0200 China foreign direct investment July 0900 Euro zone Eurostat trade June 1400 U.S. NAHB housing market index Aug

PRICES AT 0032 GMT

Metal Last Change Pct chg Spot gold 1299.54 -4.85 -0.37 Spot silver 19.53 -0.06 -0.31 Spot platinum 1452 0 0 Spot palladium 891.45 0.95 0.11 Comex gold 1301 -5.2 -0.4 Comex silver 19.525 0 0 Euro 1.3389 DXY 81.452

COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Joseph Radford)