PRECIOUS-Gold firms amid steady dollar ahead of U.S. jobs report

* Spot gold looks neutral in $1,263-$1,281/oz range- technicals

SPDR Gold Trust holdings fall 0.4 pct to 846.04


* Gold set for first weekly gain in three

(Adds comments and details, updates prices) Nov 2 (Reuters) - Gold firmed on Friday but stuck to a narrow range below the previous session's highs as the dollar steadied amid caution ahead of U.S. jobs data later in the day.

Spot gold edged up 0.1 percent to $1,277.04 per ounce

at 0327 GMT, and was on track for its first weekly gain in three. It hit its highest in about two weeks, at $1,284.10, in the previous session.

U.S. gold for December delivery was mostly unchanged

at $1,277.70 per ounce. The dollar held steady versus a basket of currencies on Friday, as focus shifted to U.S. jobs data, with President Donald Trump's nomination of Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell to be the next Fed chair coming as no surprise. The greenback had slipped on Thursday after Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives released proposals to overhaul the tax code. Asian share markets edged higher on Friday as investors gave a guarded reception to the plans for massive U.S. tax cuts, while welcoming the appointment of a centrist at the helm of the Fed. A holiday in Japan kept volumes light, while investors observed the usual caution ahead of the U.S. payrolls report which is expected to show a big bounce back from September's hurricane-hit result. "Gold seems to be broadly flat. The announcement of Jerome Powell as the new Fed Chair was broadly in line with expectations," said John Sharma, an economist with National Australia Bank. "Markets are waiting for the U.S. payrolls data. A strong result here would not be supportive of gold." Trump's appointment of Powell broke with precedent by denying Janet Yellen a second term but signalling a continuation of her cautious monetary policies.

Spot gold looks neutral in a narrow range of

$1,263-$1,281 per ounce, and an escape could suggest a direction, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

"If the market somehow believes that Powell will not be aggressive in raising interest rates next year, then gold might have possibly bottomed at $1,260 already," said Samson Li, an analyst with Thomson Reuters GFMS. Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

Meanwhile, holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust , the

world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.4 percent to 846.04 tonnes on Thursday.

In other precious metals, spot silver inched 0.1

percent higher percent to $17.10 per ounce, platinum

eased 0.4 percent, to $921.25 and palladium was up 0.3

percent to $998.88.

(Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin)