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PRECIOUS-Gold steady as investors await U.S. Fed policy statement

* U.S. Federal Reserve policy statement due at 1800 GMT

* Dollar index steady above previous day's 13-month low

(Adds analyst comments in paragraphs 2-4, and 7, 9 and 10; updates prices) BENGALURU, July 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices were steady on Wednesday as investors awaited a statement from the Federal Reserve for clues on the outlook for the U.S. central bank's monetary policy. "Markets are certainly a little bit cautious ahead of the Fed meeting and that's probably hindering investor appetite," said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes. The Fed concludes a two-day meeting later on Wednesday, and is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged. "I think the market will be looking for any comments around inflation," Hynes said.

Spot gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,246.94 per ounce at

0327 GMT.

U.S. gold futures for August delivery fell 0.5

percent to $1,246.30 per ounce. "At this stage, we would rather be neutral on gold as Fed wording could throw the market off (in either direction)," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir. Higher interest rates would push bond yields up and likely boost the dollar. Higher yields increase the opportunity cost of holding non-interest-bearing gold, while a stronger dollar makes bullion more expensive for investors holding other currencies. "Stronger U.S. economic data has also weighed on gold, but has been negated by the weak inflation outlook," Hynes said. "Assuming that we don't see any sort of change in language from the Fed meeting, I suspect we'll see safe-haven demand pushing gold prices up," he said, referring to recent support for the precious metal due to U.S. political uncertainty. Long-dated U.S. Treasury yields jumped by the most in nearly five months on Tuesday as Wall Street indexes hit record highs.

Asian stocks edged up early on Wednesday, while the dollar was steady - holding above a 13-month low hit on Tuesday - as investors awaited the Fed's policy decision.

Holdings at the SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest

gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 1.13 percent to 800.45 tonnes on Tuesday from 809.62 tonnes on Monday.

In other precious metals, silver slipped 0.7 percent

to $16.35 per ounce.

Platinum rose 0.2 percent to $925.60 per ounce and palladium gained 0.4 percent to $860.47 per ounce.

(Reporting by Nithin Prasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford and Tom Hogue)