PRECIOUS-Gold prices hit 2-week high as equities dip on virus impact


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    Feb 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices hit a two-week high on
Tuesday as global equities retreated after Apple Inc  AAPL.O 
flagged a revenue miss amid the coronavirus outbreak, sobering
investor optimism. 
    * Spot gold  XAU=  was up 0.3% at $1,586.19 per ounce, as of
0112 GMT. Earlier in the session, bullion prices touched their
highest since Feb. 3 at $1,586.90. 
    * U.S. gold futures  GCv1  edged higher by 0.2% to
    * The death toll from a coronavirus outbreak in mainland
China rose to 1,868, as of the end of Monday, up by 98 from the
previous day, the National Health Commission said on Tuesday.*:nL4N2AI00T*:nL4N2AI09D
    * More than 300 American cruise liner passengers, including
14 who tested positive for coronavirus, were flown home to
military bases in the United States after two weeks under
quarantine off Japan.*:nL4N2AG0US
    * Asian shares eased on the back of lower U.S. stock futures
despite economic measures from Beijing to stem the damage from
the epidemic.  MKTS/GLOB 
    * The risk-averse sentiment in the market supported bullion,
often seen as an alternative investment during times of
political and financial uncertainty.
    * Apple said on Monday the iPhone maker was unlikely to meet
a sales target set just three weeks ago amid lost production and
weakening demand in China from the coronavirus outbreak.*:nL1N2AH0QL
    * The Trump administration is considering changing U.S.
regulations to allow it to block shipments of chips to Huawei
Technologies  HWT.UL  from global chip supplying companies,
which would be a blow to the world's no. 2 smartphone maker.*:nL1N2AH0FJ
    * However, market sentiment got a boost on Monday after
China's central bank cut the interest rate on its medium-term
lending on Monday as policymakers sought to ease the drag to the
businesses from the virus outbreak.*:nL4N2AH0NR
    * Britain's 1,100-year-old Royal Mint said on Monday it will
launch an exchange-traded product this week, backed by physical
gold held in its vault in Wales, which will trade on the London
Stock Exchange.*:nL8N2AE58S
    * Palladium  XPD=  inched up 0.2% to $2,526.75 an ounce
after hitting a near one-month peak earlier in the session at
    * Silver  XAG=  advanced 0.5% to $17.85, while platinum
 XPT=  was up 0.2% to $970.90.

0930   UK        Claimant Count Unem Chng  Jan
0930   UK        ILO Unemployment Rate     Dec
1000   Germany   ZEW Economic Sentiment    Feb
1000   Germany   ZEW Current Conditions    Feb

 (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry
 ((; If within U.S. +1 646 223
8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2808; Reuters Messaging: Reuters

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