PRECIOUS-Gold steady near late April highs as Asian stocks slip

June 6 (Reuters) - Gold held steady early Tuesday, hovering close to a more than six-week high hit in the previous session, on weaker Asian stocks and amid tapered expectations for aggressive U.S. rate hikes this year.


* Spot gold rose 0.1 percent to $1,280.60 per ounce at 0105 GMT. On Monday, it hit a peak of $1,283.27 an ounce, its highest level since April 21.

* U.S. gold futures for August delivery rose 0.1 percent to $1,283.6 an ounce.

* Palladium on Monday hit its strongest level since September 2014 at $849.40.

* MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.2 percent in early trade, pulling back from a two-year high hit on Monday.

* U.S. services sector activity slowed in May as new orders tumbled, but a jump in employment to a near two-year high pointed to sustained labor market strength despite a deceleration in job growth last month.

* Euro zone business activity remained strong in May, underpinned by increasing demand, according to a survey released on Monday, which suggested the pace of growth was putting the economy on a path towards a sustained recovery.

* The Arab world's biggest powers cut ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of support for Islamist militants and Iran, and reopening a festering wound two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump's demand for Muslim states to fight terrorism.

* China's economy is likely to have remained on a stable footing in May, buoyed by solid gains in trade and investment as economic ties with the United States take a positive turn and infrastructure spending cushions domestic growth.

* India's gold imports in May surged fourfold from a year ago to 103 tonnes as jewelers increased purchases to replenish inventory and stock up ahead of a new national sales tax, provisional data from consultancy GFMS showed.

* Russia's largest gold producer Polyus on Monday announced its intention to conduct offering on the London Stock Exchange and the Moscow Exchange.

* Russia produced 68.68 tonnes of gold in the first four months of 2017, up from 67.75 tonnes in the same period last year, the finance ministry said in a statement on Monday.


0830 Euro zone Sentix index Jun 0900 Euro zone Retail sales Apr

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