BENGALURU, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Gold prices were steady in early Asian trade on Thursday, while the dollar edged higher and investors turned their attention to this week’s Federal Reserve meeting for clues on future interest rate hikes. FUNDAMENTALS: * Spot gold was flat at $1,225.61 per ounce at 0115 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures was down 0.2 percent to $1,226.6 per ounce.

* Asian stocks rose on Thursday as investors, relieved to have moved past the U.S. midterm elections without any major political surprises, drove a Wall Street rally, while the dollar clawed back some of its earlier losses.

* The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, inched up 0.2 percent.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve began its policy meeting on Wednesday facing a shifting political landscape but little in recent economic data to alter plans for an interest rate increase in December and more to come next year.

* The Fed’s policy statement is scheduled to be released at 2 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Thursday, and analysts do not foresee major changes.

* The top Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives pledged a new era of congressional scrutiny over President Donald Trump on Wednesday, shrugging off White House threats of political warfare if Democrats launch investigations into his affairs.

* Trump on Wednesday forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions a day after congressional elections, and vowed to fight if the U.S. House of Representatives’ new Democratic majority launches probes into his administration.