May 02, 2012, 11.58 AM | Source: Reuters
MARKETS-PRECIOUS:Gold hits 2-week high as U.S. data weighs on dollar
* Spot gold rose to $1,667.45 in early Asian hours, its highest since April 13, before easing to $1,665.70 an ounce by 0038 GMT.
* U.S. gold gained 0.1 percent to $1,666.60.
* The U.S. economy appeared to downshift as it entered the second quarter, with consumers increasing their spending only modestly last month and a gauge of business activity in the Midwest falling sharply in April.
* The dollar index hovered near a two-month low hit in the previous session.
* Spain sank into recession in the first quarter and economists said spending cuts aimed at meeting strict EU deficit limits, together with a reeling bank sector, would delay any return to growth until late this year or beyond.
* Spanish government bond yields fell on Monday after data showed the country's economy contracted less sharply than forecast, but they were expected to pick up again before debt sales on Thursday, the first for Madrid since last week's ratings downgrade.
* Investors are keeping an watchful on the weekend elections in France and Greece, as well as a European Central Bank meeting on Thursday.
* SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.47 percent from the previous session to 1,278.32 tonnes by April 30, the lowest since mid-February.
* A number of markets in Asia, including China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam, are closed on Tuesday for a public holiday.
* The S&P 500 posted its first monthly decline since November on Monday, as stocks slipped on signs the U.S. economy may be slowing and as a recession in Spain highlighted risks in the euro zone.
* The yen held at two-month highs against the dollar on Tuesday, having rallied across the board overnight as investors snapped up the safe-haven currency after disappointing economic news from Canada to Spain tempered risk sentiment.
(Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Ed Davies)