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PRECIOUS-Gold hits 6-month peak on stock sell-off, decelerating economy

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(Updates prices, adds comments, details)

* SPDR gold holdings highest since mid-August

* Investors raise net longs in gold to 6-month high - CFTC

By Arijit Bose

Dec 24 - Gold scaled a six-month peak on Monday as slidingstock markets and concerns about a global economic slowdownsapped risk sentiment, driving investors to seek safety in theprecious metal.

Spot gold XAU= gained 0.8 percent to $1,265.60 per ounceat 10:56 a.m. EST (1556 GMT) in thin trade ahead of theChristmas holiday. The metal hit its highest since late June at$1,267.13 earlier in the session.

U.S. gold futures GCv1 were up 0.9 percent at $1,268.90per ounce.

"Gold has continued to be firm here in the course of equitymarket weakness and an ongoing bevy of factors that are concernsfor the market such as trade wars, interest rate hikes andothers," said David Meger, director of metals trading at HighRidge Futures.

Global stocks continued their downward trend for the seventhstraight session as possibilities of a prolonged U.S. governmentshutdown and a deteriorating global economy unnerved investors. MKTS/GLOBurn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1YR04J

"Gold prices are moderately higher on safe-haven buyinginterest heading into the Christmas holiday," Kitco Metalssenior analyst Jim Wyckoff wrote in a note.

"A lower U.S. dollar index today is also working in favor ofthe precious metals market bulls. There is marketplace uneaseover the U.S. government's partial shutdown that could last awhile."

The dollar was pressured amid concerns that the U.S. FederalReserve will keep raising rates into a weakening economy. USD/urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nTLAJNEE4N

"If the Fed is going to continue its aggressive stance, thenour economy will slow down and a recession is a possibility.There is just so much negative news, that I cannot see gold doanything but go up," said Walter Pehowich, executive vicepresident of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.

Gold, seen as a safe investment during political andfinancial uncertainties, has risen about 9 percent from a19-month low of $1,159.96 in mid-August.

An increase in net long positions among speculators and arise in the holdings of the SPDR Gold TrustGLD , the world'slargest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, indicated bolsteredinterest in the metal.

Net long positions in Comex gold increased to a six-monthhigh in the week to Dec. 18, while holdings of the SPDR rose totheir highest since mid-August on Friday. CFTC/GOL/ETF

Among other metals, palladium XPD= eased 0.4 percent to$1,226.99 per ounce.

Silver XAG= rose 1 percent to $14.75 per ounce, whileplatinum XPT= was up 0.1 percent at $787.30 per ounce. (Reporting by Arijit Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by JeffreyBenkoe) ((Arijit.Bose@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 651 848 5832,Outside U.S. +91 8067495254; Reuters Messaging:Arijit.Bose.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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