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Gold eases despite Fed as investors take profits

By A. Ananthalakshmi

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Gold slipped on Thursday despite the U.S. Federal Reserve vowing to maintain its economic stimulus measures, with investors taking profits from a recent run-up in prices.

The metal had risen about 8 percent since hitting a three-month low on October 15 in anticipation of the Fed's decision, leading to a price correction on Wednesday after a statement from the bank came in line with expectations.

Gold was also hurt by a sharp slide in silver due to technical selling and strength in the U.S. dollar.

"Prices are under pressure as some are liquidating their long positions because there was nothing new from the meeting," sad Peter Fung, head of dealing at Hong Kong's Wing Fung Precious Metals.

"Prices rose quickly from $1,300 to $1,360 in anticipation of the Fed move - that is why investors are taking profits now."

In a span of about 4 weeks, gold prices rose to a five-week high of $1,360 last week from $1,280.

Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,339.55 an ounce by 0239 GMT, after falling as much as 0.5 percent.

Comex gold futures slipped 1 percent, while silver dropped nearly 3 percent.

The Fed on Wednesday sounded a bit less optimistic about economic growth as it announced plans to keep buying $85 billion in bonds per month. The central bank noted that the recovery in the housing market had lost some steam and suggested some frustration at how slowly the labour market was healing.

"With this event risk now behind us, the market will go back into data-watch mode," said Victor Thianpiriya, an analyst at ANZ. "For gold, the intraday moves will continue to be driven by gyrations in the U.S. dollar."

"We expect the slowing of physical demand and the decline in Shanghai premiums will mean gold prices will have to fall further before sparking any strong end-user demand."

Physical buying in Asia, especially China, has slowed in recent weeks with the rise and volatility in prices.

Prices on the Shanghai Gold Exchange have trended lower than global prices due to fears of a cash crunch.

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Joseph Radford)