PRECIOUS-Gold prices dip on profit-taking amid US political tension

* Gold marks highest level since May 1 earlier in the day

* Gold may retrace to a support at $1,252 per ounce- technicals

* Dollar index hovers near six-month lows

(Recasts throughout, updates prices, adds quote) May 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices weakened after touching a more than two-week high on Thursday, weighed down by profit-taking amid political turmoil in the United States. The yellow metal rose about 2 percent on Wednesday in its biggest one-day percentage gain since June last year, as pressure on U.S. President Donald Trump deepened following reports that he tried to interfere with a federal investigation. That came after a turbulent week when Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and discussed sensitive national security information with Russia's foreign minister, causing investors to question whether Trump can push through tax cuts and deregulation. "We are seeing some squaring off probably from Asian traders and perhaps just a bit correction from the moves overnight," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA. "I would caution that the gold rally has been driven by political news and not necessarily fundamentals. Should the political storm die in Washington, the rally will lose steam."

Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,258.02 per ounce

$1,263.02. The yellow metal settled higher in the five previous sessions.

U.S. gold futures were nearly flat at $1,258.40 an

ounce. "Asia saw mixed interest on Thursday as profit taking battled against underlying interest," MKS trader Sam Laughlin said in a note. "We are likely to see profit taking weigh upon the metal over the short term, however the current political climate in the U.S. should see underlying interest continue to support the metal around $1,250." Gold is used as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty. Spot gold may retrace moderately to a support at $1,252 per ounce, before retesting a resistance at $1,264, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. "I think prices have already been pushed up and we might see reversing of gold prices in one or two days. People are likely to go back to basics and see what the interest rates are going to be," said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong. On Thursday, the dollar stood near six-month lows against a basket of major currencies, while Asian stocks fell, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropping 0.6 percent.

Among other precious metals, silver slipped 0.6 percent to $16.75 an ounce, platinum was down 0.5 percent at $936.90 an ounce, while palladium shed 0.4 percent to


(Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin and Biju Dwarakanath)