SINGAPORE, March 8 - Gold hovered near $1,580 an ounce on Friday ahead of the release of a key U.S. job market report, as encouraging U.S. employment data earlier this week and lack of monetary easing moves from major central banks muted buying interest in gold.
* Spot gold was little changed at $1,579.25 an ounce by 0037 GMT, on course for a 0.3 percent weekly rise.
* U.S. gold inched up 0.2 percent to $1,578.90.
* Investors are eyeing the all-important U.S. February employment report, due at 1330 GMT, after Thursday's weekly jobless claims and Wednesday's ADP National Employment Report showed signs of improvement in the labour market.
* February's employment report is expected to show moderate job growth as higher taxes and fears of deep government spending cuts made employers cautious, economists said.
* The European Central Bank decided to keep interest rates unchanged, citing positive economic survey indicators. ECB President Mario Draghi said markets have settled after Italy's inconclusive elections and any threat of contagion to other euro members has been muted.
* Investors pulled $5.6 billion from gold exchange-traded products (ETPs) in February after poor performance by the yellow metal, but appetite for riskier, growth-oriented industrial metals ETPs remained intact.
* Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 1.805 tonnes to 1,243.05 tonnes on March 7, resuming a decline after pausing for one session.
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* U.S. stocks closed modestly higher on Thursday, with the Dow ending at a record for a third straight day as jobless claims data pointed to a pick-up in the labour market's recovery a day before the closely watched payrolls report.
* The euro held onto gains early in Asia on Friday, having posted its second biggest one-day rally this year, after the European Central Bank wrong footed investors who had positioned for a more dovish signal from ECB President Mario Draghi.
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1100 Germany Industrial output
1330 U.S. Unemployment rate
1330 U.S. Non-farm payrolls
1930 U.S. CFTC commitment of traders data
Precious metals prices 0037 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume
Spot Gold 1579.25 0.85 +0.05 -5.69
Spot Silver 28.90 0.03 +0.10 -4.56
Spot Platinum 1603.74 12.50 +0.79 4.48
Spot Palladium 756.97 2.00 +0.26 9.39
COMEX GOLD APR3 1578.90 3.80 +0.24 -5.78 1485
COMEX SILVER MAY3 28.91 0.10 +0.34 -4.38 363
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months