Gold eased on Friday en route to a third straight weekly drop as investors weighed doubts over a leading COVID-19 vaccine candidate against optimism that vaccines will arrive sooner than expected.
Spot gold fell 0.1% to $1,808.90 per ounce by 0751 GMT, down 3.3% on the week. U.S. gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,806.80.
Asian shares stalled near record highs as AstraZeneca faced tricky questions about the success rate of its vaccine that could hinder speedy U.S. and EU regulatory approvals.
"For the markets, I don't think that changes the perception that there's going to be a vaccine sooner than previously expected," said IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda.
Investors are starting to buy into the narrative that the economic recovery is going to gather steam in 2021 and that's driving them to liquidate gold holdings, Rodda added.
Offering some respite to gold, the dollar weakened on improving risk appetite from COVID-19 vaccine optimism and hopes for a smoother transition to a Biden administration.
Gold is trapped in a range of $1,800-$1,820 an ounce, with risks tilted to the downside by a steepening yield curve and the weight of accumulated positioning in gold exchange-traded funds, futures and physical holdings, said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.
But analysts said gold's longer-term trajectory remained positive, with bullion still up about 19% this year given its lure as a hedge against likely inflation and currency debasement spurred by unprecedented stimulus measures globally.
Gold could reach new highs in 2021 as the U.S. Federal Reserve will likely cap rate rises in the longer end of the yield curve and the dollar will weaken materially, OANDA's Halley added.
Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding gold.
Silver fell 0.9% to $23.23 an ounce. Platinum fell 0.8% to $954.53 and palladium gained 0.3% to $2,390.06.
(Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. & Subhranshu Sahu).