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Gold bounces back from weakest week this year

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Gold rebounded on Monday from its weakest week since November after downbeat U.S. payrolls data on Friday dampened speculation of a near-term interest rate hike, and as Chinese buyers returned after the Golden Week holiday.

Gold slid 4.5 percent last week, touching a four-month low of $1,241.20 an ounce on Friday, after a break of support at $1,300 unleashed a wave of technically-driven selling.

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It has since rebounded as traders weigh up the prospect of a later U.S. interest rate hike this year after payrolls data on Friday came in softer than expected, bolstering expectations that hikes would only be gradual.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,259.15 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled to higher 0.7 percent at $1,260.40 an ounce.

"Partly this is a reaction to the rather disappointing payrolls data on Friday, which has forced a readjustment of rate rise expectations," Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said. "There is also a feeling that the sell-off last week was rather overdone.

"Also of course we have a return of the Chinese physical market from a week-long holiday last week," he said. "The market was crucially lacking that element of physical support that we would normally expect to at least keep a floor under prices."

Hedge funds and money managers cut their net long positions in COMEX gold contracts to four-month lows in the week to Oct. 4, as prices tumbled, U.S. government data showed.

However, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New York-listed SPDR Gold Shares, reported the biggest one-day rise in its holdings since early July on Friday, of 11.3 tonnes.

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Gains in gold were capped on Monday by a perception that Democrat Hillary Clinton had won out over Republican Donald Trump in the second U.S. presidential debate overnight. A Trump victory is seen as beneficial for gold, analysts said, because it would increase uncertainty.

"The metal drifted lower throughout much of the debate, with many commentators affirming Clinton had taken the upper hand," MKS said in a note.

Financial markets saw less chance of a Trump victory amid a scandal over vulgar comments he made about women.

Among other precious metals, silver was up 1.2 percent at $17.72. It posted its biggest weekly drop in more than three years last week, down 8.5 percent.

Platinum was up 0.5 percent higher at $971, having touched $946.40 an ounce on Friday, its lowest since April 7.

Palladium snapped a five session fall, and was 1 percent higher at $671.60.