SINGAPORE, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Gold traded nearly flat on
Tuesday, with many investors stood on the sidelines in the
penultimate week of the year, watching U.S. lawmakers inch
towards a deal to avert fiscal calamity.
* Spot gold was little changed at $1,696.20 an ounce
by 0026 GMT.
* U.S. gold traded nearly flat at $1,697.90.
* Hopes rose on Monday that Washington would be able to step
back from the "fiscal cliff" as President Barack Obama and
Republican John Boehner inched toward a deal that would prevent
steep tax hikes and spending cuts that could push the economy
* The U.S. Federal Reserve's latest policy actions are
unlikely to do much to bring down unemployment and carry a
"material" risk of sparking inflation, one of the U.S. central
bank's most hawkish policymakers said on Monday.
* Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, inched down to 1,350.519
tonnes on Dec 17, but still held near a record high of 1,353.346
tonnes hit earlier in the month.
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* The S&P 500 ended at its highest level in almost two
months on Monday.
* The yen steadied in early Asian trade on Tuesday after
skidding to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in over a
year and a half in the previous session, while the euro held its
0030 Australia RBA minutes
1245 US ICSC/GS weekly chain store sales
1500 US NAHB Index for December
1815 US Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher speaks
Precious metals prices 0026 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume
Spot Gold 1696.20 -1.45 -0.09 8.47
Spot Silver 32.22 -0.04 -0.12 16.36
Spot Platinum 1604.74 2.25 +0.14 15.20
Spot Palladium 695.75 -0.72 -0.10 6.63
COMEX GOLD FEB3 1697.90 -0.30 -0.02 8.37 1191
COMEX SILVER MAR3 32.32 0.03 +0.11 15.76 174
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Joseph Radford)