Gold eased from a two-week high on Thursday as investors booked profits after prices jumped in the previous session on hopes of a massive U.S. stimulus package under the new Joe Biden administration.
* Spot gold fell 0.1% to $1,868.20 per ounce by 0110 GMT, after hitting its highest since Jan. 8 at $1,871.75 earlier in the session. Bullion had gained 1.7% on Wednesday.
* U.S. gold futures gained 0.1% to $1,868.50.
* U.S. President Joe Biden signed a string of executive orders, shortly after being sworn in on Wednesday to jump-start the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
* Gold is considered a hedge against inflation that can result from stimulus measures.
* The United States surpassed 400,000 deaths due to COVID-19 on Wednesday, while Britain reported a record daily number of deaths.
* The World Health Organization plans to approve several COVID-19 vaccines from Western and Chinese manufacturers in coming weeks and months.
* The European Central Bank will keep its easy money policy unchanged on Thursday but hold the door wide open to further stimulus as the spreading second wave of COVID-19 dims an already weak outlook.
* British inflation gathered speed in December, starting what is expected to be a climb this year as pandemic-fighting measures, Brexit and a recovery in the economy combine to push up costs for consumers and businesses.
* Silver shed 0.2% to $25.75 an ounce. Platinum eased 0.5% to $1,103.51, while palladium gained 0.3% to $2,379.28.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0745 France Business Climate Mfg Jan 0900 US Philly Fed Business Indx Jan 1245 EU ECB Refinancing Rate Jan 1245 EU ECB Deposit Rate Jan 1330 US Housing Starts Number Dec 1330 US Initial Jobless Clm Weekly 1500 EU Consumer Confid. Flash Jan
(Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu) ((Sumita.Layek@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, Outside U.S. +91 8061822693; Reuters Messaging: Sumita.Layek.email@example.com))