Gold eased, tracking weaker equities and commodities, as investors turned their focus back to euro zone talks on aid to Greece.

Bullion traded in a range of just $US7, one of the narrowest of the year, after rallying on Friday to its highest point in more than a month.

Traders are slowly returning from the US Thanksgiving Day holiday last week, and volatility in outside markets dropped. Analysts said the gold market could benefit if the International Monetary Fund and the euro zone cannot reach an agreement to shore up debt-stricken Greece with much needed cash.

Volume was higher than usual for a second straight session, largely because of contract rollover ahead of COMEX December option expiration Tuesday and the December contract's first-notice day Friday, traders said. "Most of the activity came from CTAs (Commodity Trading Advisors) and hedge funds who were either adding to longs or reversing their shorts. It seems that the expectations for the Fed's planned actions are stronger now than they had been before the election," said Carlos Perez-Santalla, a broker at PVM Futures.

Turnover had been quiet in the last month as gold's rally appeared to fade after the Federal Reserve said in September it would keep pumping stimulus money until the job market showed marked improvement.

Spot gold fell 0.2 per cent to $US1,749.14 by 2:49 p.m.

EST (1949 GMT), near Friday's high of $US1,754.10, its loftiest price since Oct. 12. US COMEX gold futures for December delivery settled down $US1.80 an ounce at $US1,749.60, with trading volume about 20 per cent above its 250-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.

Some investors took profits after a 1.5 per cent rally, considered a technical breakout by analysts, which lifted bullion above its 50-day moving average.

Greece, eurozone in focus

The S&P 500 index and crude oil both fell due to European debt jitters. Euro zone finance ministers and the IMF made their third attempt in as many weeks to agree on releasing emergency aid for Greece on Monday, with policymakers saying a write-down of Greek debt is off the table for now.

"A failure to strike a deal in the coming days could trigger a Greek default, raising again the question of a Greek exit (from the euro zone) and potentially seriously endangering the resolution of the euro area crisis," Barclays strategists said in a note. Among other precious metals, silver inched up 10 cents to $US34.11 an ounce. Spot platinum was down 0.4 per cent at $US1,609 an ounce, while spot palladium edged down 0.3 per cent at $US659.97 an ounce.

Reuters