PRECIOUS-Gold falls below trading range, touches 4-month low as dollar firms

* Gold touches lowest since Aug. 8 at $1,250.51/oz

* Platinum on track for biggest weekly loss in nine months

* GRAPHIC-2017 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

(New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comment; adds second byline and NEW YORK dateline) NEW YORK/LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Gold fell 1 percent on Thursday, hitting a four-month bottom below its recent trading range, as Wall Street stocks rose and the U.S. dollar strengthened on optimism about passage of a U.S. tax overhaul.

Spot gold dropped 1 percent to $1,251.11 an ounce by

2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT), bouncing off a four-month low of

$1,250.51. U.S. gold futures for February delivery

settled down $13, 1 percent, at $1,253.10 per ounce. Gold broke out of its recent trading range this week after slipping below its $1,267 200-day moving average. Since mid-October, prices had stayed between $1,265 and $1,300 an ounce as investors poured money into the stock market, which hit a series of record highs. The stock market gains dicouraged gold buying, as did expectations that the Federal Reserve would raise U.S. interest rates this month. "From a technical point of view, many traders had stop-losses just below $1,262, and today the market is going down for this reason," said ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto de Casa. A stronger U.S. dollar also sparked selling of gold, he said. The dollar touched a two-week high on Thursday on optimism the United States would push through a Republican tax package by a Dec. 22 deadline. Financial markets will watch U.S. non-farm payrolls data Friday, a key barometer of the U.S. economy. Next week the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to announce a rise in interest rates and offer guidance on the pace of further increases. "The question is whether this weakness in gold is an image of the December 2015 and 2016 charts, where the metals began significant rallies after the rate increase announcement, or if we are in a different paradigm this time around," Kitco Metals Inc said in a note. Rising U.S. interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced. "In 2018, we're looking at a $1,325 price target," said George Gero, managing director of RBC Wealth Management in New York. "Theres a lot to worry about with geopolitical and other threats, and a possible stock market correction."

Among other precious metals, silver dropped 1.1

percent to $15.79 an ounce after slipping to its lowest since mid-July at $15.72.

Platinum slid 1.2 percent at $890.74 an ounce,

earlier touching its lowest since July 11 at $889.50. The metal has fallen nearly 5 percent this week and is on track for its biggest weekly loss in nine months.

Palladium was up 1.8 percent at $1,011 an ounce.

(Additional reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans and David Gregorio)