TAIPEI, Oct 8 Gold was flat on Monday, with trade thin due to holidays in Japan and the U

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TAIPEI, Oct 8 (Reuters) Gold was flat on Monday, with trade thin due to holidays in Japan and the United States, and on caution ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve minutes that could give clues on interest rates.

Cash gold was at $741.00/741.75 by 0326 GMT, down a touch from $741.10/741.90 in New York on Friday. Gold had rallied to a 28-year high of $747.65 last Monday before a rebound in the dollar sparked selling from investors.

''People are very cautious about the U.S. dollar's direction at the moment,'' said Ellison Chu of Standard Bank London in Hong Kong.

''This week is very crucial, especially the comments from the FOMC this week,'' said Chu.

The Federal Open Market Committee on Tuesday will issue the minutes of its Sept. 18 meeting, at which it slashed the fed funds rate by a half percentage point to 4.75 percent.

Friday's jobs report has reduced the chance of another U.S.

interest rate cut this month, but not eradicated it.

''People will play it safe at this moment. I don't think the market will go up that high at the moment and if I was an investor I would wait and see,'' Chu said.

The dollar stood at around 117.12 yen , firming from 116.85 yen late in New York. The dollar index <.DXY>, a gauge of the currency's value against a basket of major currencies, was at 78.34, above last week's record low of 77.66 but down from 78.819 hit after the jobs data.

Solid U.S. employment data on Friday did little to convince investors the U.S. economy is growing fast enough to keep the Federal Reserve from cutting interest rates again.

The greenback rose sharply on Friday after the data showed September U.S. jobs growth of 110,000, the highest since May, and revised numbers upward for August and July, but the rally petered out ahead of the Columbus Day holiday weekend.

''With markets looking for further dollar weakness and speculating on the possibility of further U.S. rate cuts after last month's 50 basis point easing, analysts now see more scope for gains in gold perhaps rising to $800/oz by the end of the year,'' said Investec in a daily note.

The Tokyo Commodity Exchange <0JAU:> was closed for a national holiday on Monday, while the U.S. celebrates Columbus Day.

Most-active December gold on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange was up 40 cents at $747.60 an ounce in electronic trade.

Cash silver was at $13.41/13.44 an ounce, versus $13.38/13.43, while palladium was down slightly at $364/368 an ounce.

Platinum was slightly lower at $1,370/1,375, against $1,372.50/1,379.50 in New York.

Precious metals prices at 0353 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Turnover Spot Gold 740.70 -1.60 -0.22 16.52 Spot Silver 13.40 0.01 +0.07 4.28 Spot Platinum 1370.00 -2.50 -0.18 21.02 Spot Palladium 364.00 -0.25 -0.07 9.64 TOCOM Gold 2783.00 35.00 +1.27 13.82 61597 TOCOM Platinum 5057.00 36.00 +0.72 18.88 41316 TOCOM Silver 504.80 6.20 +1.24 2.33 1075 TOCOM Palladium 1404.00 55.00 +4.08 11.87 1642 Euro/Dollar 1.4134 Dollar/Yen 117.09 TOCOM prices in yen per gram, except TOCOM silver which is priced in yen per 10 grams. Spot prices in $ per ounce.

REUTERS SR GC1157

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