SINGAPORE, April 12 - Gold was barely changed on Friday, but was on track for a third straight weekly drop as strong stock markets lured investors seeking better returns while outflows from exchange-traded funds reflected the precious metal's shaky outlook.
* Gold was steady at $1,560.86 an ounce by 0040 GMT after falling to its weakest in nearly a week on Thursday.
* The prices, which were headed for a more than 1 percent drop this week, have slipped around 7 percent so far this year after posting annual gains in the past 12 years.
* U.S. gold for June delivery was at $1,561.10 an ounce, down $3.80.
* SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.18 percent to 1,181.42 tonnes on Thursday from 1,183.53 tonnes on Wednesday.
* Heavily indebted euro zone nations such as Italy and Portugal could come under pressure to put their bullion reserves to work as a result of plans for Cyprus to sell gold to meet its financing needs.
* Fallout from the messy bailout of Cyprus will top the agenda of a two-day EU finance ministers meeting in Dublin beginning on Friday, with focus also on growing German reluctance over euro zone banking reform.
* A Pentagon spy agency concluded for the first time that North Korea likely has the ability to launch nuclear-armed missiles, illustrating the high stakes surrounding the escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.
* Asian shares crept higher and the yen faced fresh lows on Friday as the Bank of Japan's liquidity injections and Wall Street's record-high close overnight continued to underpin investor confidence.
* U.S. stocks rose for a fourth straight day on Thursday, sending the Dow and the S&P 500 to new closing highs as positive data on the labour market and an encouraging retail outlook eased recent concerns about economic growth.
0530 India Industrial output
0645 France Current account
0900 Euro zone Industrial output
1230 U.S. Producer prices
1230 U.S. Retail sales
1355 U.S. Univ of Michigan sentiment index
1400 U.S. Business inventories
1630 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks
N/A Euro zone finance ministers meet in Dublin
Precious metals prices 0040 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume
Spot Gold 1560.86 0.12 +0.01 -6.79
Spot Silver 27.66 0.06 +0.22 -8.65
Spot Platinum 1525.99 -6.01 -0.39 -0.59
Spot Palladium 726.47 -1.53 -0.21 4.98
COMEX GOLD JUN3 1561.10 -3.80 -0.24 -6.84 1965
COMEX SILVER MAY3 27.62 -0.08 -0.30 -8.65 263
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months