* ETF holdings unchanged on Monday, supports gold
* Gold buying in India comes to a halt amid new restrictions
* Gold's target of $1,395 resumed -technicals
(Adds quotes, updates price)
By A. Ananthalakshmi
SINGAPORE, May 15 (Reuters) - Gold inched up on Wednesday
after dropping for four straight sessions, as the U.S. dollar
eased and outflows from exchange-traded funds halted, but firm
equities could lure away investors seeking better returns and
keep a lid on bullion's gains.
While gold has recovered around 8 percent from a two-year
trough hit in April, its safe-haven appeal has been battered by
record high U.S. equities, signs of an improving U.S. economy,
and fears of a slowdown in demand by top consumer India.
Gold rose 0.19 percent to $1,428.09 an ounce by 0159
GMT. Bullion has slumped more than 14 percent so far this year,
after gaining in the past 12 consecutive years as easy monetary
policy burnished bullion's appeal as a hedge against inflation.
Holdings at SPDR Gold Trust, the largest gold-backed
ETF, were unchanged at 33.8 million ounces on Monday after
falling almost daily.
But the holdings were still within sight of their lowest
since March 2009 that was hit after funds cut their exposure to
bullion, whose historic fall in April took ardent gold investors
and bulls by surprise.
"I think what the market is concerned about is ETF
outflows," said Dominic Schnider, an analyst at UBS Wealth
Management. "I wouldn't be surprised if we touch $1,405 an ounce
in a short period of time. I would assume that it would help
revive some physical demand," he said.
U.S. gold futures for June was at $1,427.20 an
ounce, up $2.70.
Gold prices drew support from a softer dollar, which made
commodities priced in the greenback cheaper for holders of other
But a rally is U.S. stocks to fresh highs on Tuesday curbed
investors' interest in gold, while a slowdown in Indian demand
for the precious metal also weighed.
Gold buying in India came to a halt as the central bank
restricted imports after a surge in buying in April sent the
trade deficit to $17.8 billion for the month, up more than 72
percent from March.
India's gold and silver imports surged 138 percent on year
in April as customers took advantage of lower prices, increasing
pressure on the current account balance and limiting the space
for monetary easing even though inflation slowed in the month.
Gold plunged to a more than two-year low of $1,321.35 in
April after a break below the psychological level of $1,500
ignited selling and Cyprus' plan to sell excess gold reserves
led to speculation that other indebted euro zone countries could
Portugal will not replicate a deal that allowed Cyprus to
sell its gold reserves under its bailout, its central bank said
PRECIOUS METALS PRICES 0159 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume
Spot Gold 1428.09 2.70 +0.19 -14.72
Spot Silver 23.36 0.00 +0.00 -22.85
Spot Platinum 1497.75 1.25 +0.08 -2.43
Spot Palladium 723.11 -3.39 -0.47 4.50
COMEX GOLD JUN3 1427.20 2.70 +0.19 -14.83 7204
COMEX SILVER JUL3 23.33 -0.05 -0.21 -22.83 1904
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Editing by Lewa Pardomuan and Himani Sarkar)