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PRECIOUS-Gold hits highest in over six weeks as U.S. jobs data disappoints

June 5 (Reuters) - Gold held steady after hitting its highest in over six weeks earlier on Monday, buoyed as a disappointing U.S. jobs report appeared to dilute the prospects for an aggressive string of interest rate hikes in the United States.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold had risen 0.1 percent, to $1,281.40 per ounce by 0115 GMT. It hit a peak of $1,281.86 an ounce early in the session, its strongest since April 21.

* U.S. gold futures for August delivery rose 0.3 percent to $1,283.4 an ounce.

* Palladium on Monday matched its June 2 high of $843.10 an ounce, which was the metal's strongest since September 2014.

* The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was flat in early Asian trading but not far from Friday's nadir of 96.654, its lowest since Nov. 9.

* U.S. job growth slowed in May and employment gains in the prior two months were not as strong as previously reported, suggesting the labor market was losing momentum despite the unemployment rate falling to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent.

* Wall Street's top banks are united in the belief the Federal Reserve will raise U.S. interest rates when it meets in two weeks' time, but recent choppy data on the U.S. economy has created a division of opinion about what happens after that, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

* Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said on Friday that the U.S. central bank remains on track to meet its inflation goal and reiterated his support for a further two interest rate increases this year.

* After a militant attack on a nightlife district of London this weekend, British Prime Minister Theresa May will resume campaigning on Monday just three days before a national election which polls show is much tighter than previously predicted.

* Hedge funds and money managers raised their net long position in COMEX gold for the second straight week, hitting the highest level in nearly a month, and also raised it in silver, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.

* Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.42 percent to 851.00 tonnes on Friday.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0800 Euro Zone Markit Ser Final PMI May 1230 U.S. Labor Costs Revised Rev Q1 1230 U.S. Productivity Revised Rev Q1 1400 U.S. Markit Comp Final PMI May 1400 U.S. Employment Trends May 1400 U.S. Durable Goods R MM Apr 1400 U.S. Factory Orders MM Apr 1400 U.S. ISM N-Mfg PMI May

(Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford)