Weaker dollar and stock market jitters drive gold higher

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Gold prices rose on Wednesday as the dollar weakened and stock markets fell after a delayed U.S. healthcare bill increased doubts about President Donald Trump's ability to pass economic stimulus measures.

The dollar sank to its lowest since November as Japan's yen strengthened and the euro hit a one-year high when European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinted that stimulus could be trimmed this year. A weaker dollar makes dollar-denominated bullion cheaper for holders of other currencies and can increase demand.

Spot gold was up 0.22 percent at $1,249.6899 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures settled at $1,249.10, up $2.2.

Gold prices have been held down in recent months as stock markets rose and hit record highs in the United States and Britain, offering better investment returns. But the risk of a deeper stock market correction meant investors now wanted to keep their gold, said Ole Hansen, head of commodities strategy at Saxo Bank.

"With the selling appetite fading, it gives some room to the upside," he said.

Stock investors were also on edge after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday shares may be overvalued, said Hansen. However, Draghi's comments on ECB stimulus caused investors to sell bonds, driving yields higher and limiting the appeal of non-yielding bullion.

On the technical side, gold rose above its 100-day moving average. Fibonacci resistance was at $1,255.20, analysts at ScotiaMocatta said in a note.

"Expect to see prices perking up heading into the latter part of the week, especially if the combination of a weaker dollar and U.S. equity markets stays with us for a little while longer," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir in a note.

In other precious metals, spot silver was up 0.78 percent at $16.79 an ounce. Platinum was 0.30 percent at $919.25, and palladium was up 0.05 percent at $857.90.

The platinum market was heading for a third year of global surplus in 2017 as demand from the auto and jewelry sectors weakened, consultancy CPM Group said in a report. It also said a surplus was expected in the palladium market.