By Anjana Anil
Nov 24 (Reuters) - Gold held its ground on Friday, on track to log its second consecutive weekly rise as analysts stepped up bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve was done with interest rate hikes, sending the dollar lower.
Spot gold XAU= was up 0.1% to $1,994.09 per ounce as of 0923 GMT, and has risen 0.7% so far this week. U.S. gold futures GCcv1 were little changed at $1,994.80.
"Gold has entered standby mode as investors await fresh clues on the Fed's policy outlook," FXTM senior research analyst Lukman Otunuga said. "It has traded within a range over the past few weeks, with all eyes on the $2,000 level."
"A fresh fundamental spark could be needed to trigger a major move."
The dollar index .DXY was on track for a second weekly drop, making gold less expensive for other currency holders. USD/
Markets have dialled back expectations of Fed rate cuts in 2024 after data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week.
However, the stronger than expected jobs data did not change the view that the labor market is slowing in the U.S. amid higher rates.
Earlier this week, the Fed minutes showed the central bank would proceed "carefully", and that "all participants judged it appropriate to maintain" the current rate setting.
Traders widely expect the Fed to leave rates unchanged in December, while pricing in about a 26% chance of a rate cut as early as March, according to the CME's FedWatch Tool.
Gold is considered an inflation hedge, and lower interest rates boost non-yielding bullion's appeal.
Spot silver XAG= gained 0.1% to $23.69 per ounce, while palladium XPD= rose 0.5% to $919.94. Platinum XPT= was up 1% to $1,056.21, and was heading for its second weekly rise.
(Reporting by Anjana Anil and Harshit Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey)
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.