PRECIOUS-Gold bounces as dollar stalls, Omicron-led volatility lingers

(Adds comment and updates prices)

* Stock market stages strong rebound

* U.S. tightens travel rules, countries impose restrictions

* Fed policy must address range of plausible outcomes- Powell

By Ashitha Shivaprasad

Dec 1 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Wednesday, tracking a retreat in the dollar as investors used a pullback in the previous session to buy bullion as a hedge against wider market volatility amid concerns over the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Spot gold was up 0.4% to $1,780.05 per ounce by 2:33 p.m. ET (1933 GMT), after falling as much as 0.9% on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's remarks the central bank will discuss whether to end bond purchases earlier than expected in its December meeting.

Concerns over the virus variant are supporting gold as fresh restrictions will slow the global economy, with a weaker dollar also boosting demand for the safe-haven metal, said Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in Chicago.

U.S. gold futures settled up 0.4% at $1,784.30. Gold's bounce came alongside a sharp rebound in equities, even as the U.S. imposed tougher COVID-19 testing rules for air travellers, while more countries tightened borders.

However Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst at OANDA, said "gold is struggling for momentum in either direction which is a little strange given yields are still low and the dollar is softening."

"Choppy markets with underlying anxiety should also be supporting gold prices more but its inability to drag itself back above $1,800 isn't a great sign."

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said with the U.S. economy growing strongly and supply-demand imbalances poised to persist in the near future, policymakers need to be ready to respond to the possibility that inflation may not recede in the second half of next year as expected.

Some investors view gold as a hedge against higher inflation, but reduced stimulus and interest rate hikes push government bond yields up, raising non-interest bearing gold's opportunity cost.

Spot silver fell 2.3% at $22.27 per ounce.

Platinum steadied at $934.55 and palladium rose 0.1% to $1,740.25. (Reporting by Brijesh Patel, Asha Sistla and Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber, David Evans and Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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