July 24 (Reuters) - Gold held steady on Friday en route to its best week in more than three months, driven by an escalation in U.S.-China tensions, with investors also looking for a hedge against possible inflation as hopes for more stimulus measures grow.
* Spot gold
* Prices have risen more then 4% so far this week, their biggest weekly percentage gain since April 10.
* China said the U.S. move to close its Houston consulate this week had "severely harmed" relations and warned it "must" retaliate, without providing details of what it would do.
* Gold is often used as a safe store of value during times of political and financial uncertainty.
* U.S. Senate Republicans will unveil their proposal for a fresh round of coronavirus aid next week, including more direct payments to Americans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
* Coronavirus cases continue to rise in the United States, while more than 15.35 million people have been reported to be infected by the virus globally.
* The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week for the first time in nearly four months, data showed on Thursday.
* Asian markets are set to open mostly lower as China vowed to retaliate against a U.S. order to close one of its consulates. [MKTS/GLOB]
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0800 EU
Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMIs July 1345 US
Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMIs July 1400 US
New Home sales-Units
(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri) ((Brijesh.Patel1@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 651 848 5832, Outside U.S. +91 8067493865; Reuters Messaging: Brijesh.Patel1.email@example.com)) Keywords: GLOBAL PRECIOUS/
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