Gold logs 3rd straight weekly gain, ends near $1,324

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Gold settled higher on Friday as the dollar turned lower after another batch of weak U.S. data, but stronger equities put the brakes on a rally that had taken prices to 3-1/2 month highs.

Gold has risen more than 9 percent so far this year as concerns over economic growth have boosted its safe haven appeal, although prices are still well below the all-time high of around $1,920 an ounce touched in 2011.

Chart: Precious Metals

U.S. gold futures for April delivery settled $6.70 higher at $1,323.60 an ounce. The metal is up about 0.4 percent for the week, scoring their third weekly gain in a row.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,324, down from a 3-1/2 month high at $1,332.10 hit on Tuesday.

Dealers saw purchases in the physical market this week, but many jewelers could be waiting for a correction. Premiums for gold bars were steady in Hong Kong and Singapore, but fell in Tokyo because of gains in Tokyo gold futures.

Trading was cautious after minutes of the Fed's latest policy meeting showed several policymakers wanted to keep cutting monetary stimulus, which could dent gold's appeal as a hedge against inflation.

A survey showing brisk U.S. manufacturing activity gave Asian stock markets a lift on Friday and bolstered the dollar, although underlying concerns about China's economic growth could keep investors from rushing to buy emerging market assets.

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