Gold held within a tight trading range on Thursday as the dollar held firm on strong US services sector growth, with markets awaiting the key US non-farm payrolls report on Friday.
Spot gold was steady at USD 1,274.11 an ounce at 0655 GMT.
US gold futures for December delivery were unchanged at USD 1,276.90 per ounce.
"Everyone`s waiting for the employment figures this Friday. Unless somebody in the Federal Reserve says something, there`s not going to be much movement until Friday," said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo branch manager at CIBC Standard Bank.
On Thursday, the dollar inched up against a basket of its peers, upheld as data from Wednesday showed accelerated growth in the US services sector in September, although sagging Treasury yields limited gains.
Markets awaited US non-farm payrolls data on Friday, with investors expecting a slowdown in new jobs due to disruptions from two major hurricanes in September.
Asian shares were a tad firmer in early trade, taking their cues from strong US data although holiday-thinned trade and uncertainty about the impact of recent hurricanes on the US economy were likely to keep investors cautious.
"Recently, China has been quiet even when they were in. Things might change because this week gold is a bit lower than last week. They may show some interest," Ikemizu said.
"The North Korea news has died down but it could come back at any time. I would be pretty cautious to go short from here. I`d rather think people will be bargain hunters below USD 1,300."
Spot gold may retest resistance at USD 1,281. If it breaks through that level prices could climb into the USD 1,287- USD 1,297 per ounce zone, Reuters technicals analyst Wang Tao said.
Meanwhile, Fed funds futures on Wednesday showed investors were pricing in an 83 percent chance of a December rate hike by the US central bank.
Higher interest rates typically boost the dollar and aid bond yields, adding pressure on greenback-denominated, non-yielding gold.
Any new head of the Fed will need to have the "flexibility of mind" to change tack during acute periods of crisis, the US central bank`s outgoing Vice-Chairman Stanley Fischer said on Wednesday.
In other precious metals, silver was little changed at USD 16.59 an ounce.
Platinum slipped 0.3 percent to USD 909.74 an ounce, while palladium was 0.1 percent higher at USD 922.47 an ounce.