Gold steady ahead of Fed meeting outcome

Gold held steady on Wednesday, off near one-month highs touched in the previous session, with markets waiting for the outcome later in the day of a Federal Reserve meeting for clues on the timing of a possible US interest rate hike.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold XAU= was little changed at $1,288.00 an ounce at 0102 GMT.

* The metal touched its highest since Oct. 4 at $1291.86 per ounce in the previous session.

* US gold futures GCcv1 were up 0.1 percent at $1,289.30 per ounce.

* Asian shares stumbled and the US dollar was on the defensive on Wednesday as signs that Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump could be closing the gap with his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton spooked investors.

* MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell about 0.5 percent.

* The Fed is expected to keep interest rates unchanged on Wednesday but could set the stage for a hike in December amid signs the economy is picking up steam.

* US factory activity increased for a second straight month in October amid a pickup in production and hiring, supporting views that the embattled manufacturing sector would regain some momentum in the fourth quarter.

* The US economy is on track to grow at a 2.3 percent annualised pace in the fourth quarter on expected lower consumer spending and overall investments, the Atlanta Federal Reserve's GDP Now forecast model showed on Tuesday.

* The US dollar is likely to drift higher into next year as the Fed forges a lone but gradual path toward higher interest rates, according to foreign exchange strategists polled by Reuters.

* The Bank of Japan held off on expanding stimulus on Tuesday despite once again pushing back the timing for hitting its inflation target, signalling that it will keep policy unchanged unless a severe shock threatens to derail a fragile economic recovery.

* SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.28 percent to 945.26 tonnes on Tuesday from 942.59 tonnes on Monday.