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PRECIOUS-Gold steadies as investors seek clarity on trade talks

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* SPDR Gold holdings down over 3 pct so far in February

* U.S. dollar at two-months high

* Gold likely to be range-bound around $1,305-$1,315/oz -analyst (Adds comments, details, updates prices)

Feb 14 (Reuters) - Gold was little changed on Thursday asinvestors awaited clarity on the ongoing trade talks betweenWashington and Beijing and the U.S. government shutdown, with astrong dollar and stock markets pinning prices near $1,300 anounce.

Spot gold XAU= was steady at $1,305.78 per ounce as of1101 GMT. U.S. gold futures GCv1 were down 0.4 percent at$1,309.30.

"The market has been relatively quiet. The dollar is veryfirm, particularly against Japanese yen and Swiss francs, andbecause of that the market is a little bit on the softer side,"said Afshin Nabavi, senior vice president at MKS SA.

The dollar index .DXY rose to a two-month high, makingbullion costlier for investors holding other currencies. USD/

Also denting gold's appeal were higher stocks, with Europeanshares climbing to a three-month high on optimism aboutU.S.-China trade talks. MKTS/GLOB

Investors were hoping for a breakthrough in the tradeimpasse between the world's two largest economies. U.S.President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the talks were "goingalong very well".

Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress aimed to end a dispute overborder security with legislation that would ignore Trump'srequest for $5.7 billion to help build a wall on the U.S.-Mexicoborder, but avoid a partial government shutdown.

"We are not going to have a huge movement in gold until wefind what is going on with the potential shutdown in the U.S.and also the meeting with China," Nabavi said.

Gold prices touched a more than one-week high of $1,318.12on Wednesday, but pared gains later in the session as thegreenback benefited from sustained strength in core U.S.inflation.

"A strong dollar is pressuring gold prices and physicalbuying is also limited," said Peter Fung, head of dealing atWing Fung Precious Metals in Hong Kong.

"Gold should be range-bound around $1,305-$1,315 levels asit lacks a direction until the trade talks are over."

With gold unable to break higher, outflows rose from theworld's largest gold-backed ETF, SPDR Gold TrustGLD . Holdingshave fallen over 3 percent so far this month. GOL/ETF

Elsewhere, palladium XPD= rose 0.8 percent to $1,405.69per ounce. Platinum XPT= was down 0.1 percent at $783.02 perounce, while silver XAG= rose 0.2 percent to $15.59. (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan and Nallur Sethuraman inBengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey) ((Sathya.Narayanan@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 651 8485832, outside U.S. +91 80 6749 3226/1298; Reuters Messaging:sathya.narayanan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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