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Friday April 10, 2009 - 00:24:51 GMT
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FOREXNEWS - Dollar up versus yen as U.S. stocks rally

Thu Apr 9, 2009 3:32pm EDT

* Wells Fargo earnings guidance boosts dollar vs yen

* U.S. weekly jobless claims better than expected

* ECB's Trichet says euro zone rates have room to fall

* BoE says it will continue quantitative easing

(Adds details, updates prices, changes byline)

By Vivianne Rodrigues

NEW YORK, April 9 (Reuters) - The dollar climbed against the yen on Thursday as positive earnings news from Wells Fargo and better-than-expected U.S. data helped spark a rally in stocks, rekindling appetite for riskier assets.

Wells Fargo delivered an upbeat earnings outlook, saying it expects record first-quarter earnings of about $3 billion. That added to optimism about the health of the U.S. financial sector and prompted investors to unwind bets in trades such as the Australian dollar, financed by the yen's low rates. For more on Wells Fargo click on [ID:nWNAB2290].

Further bolstering market confidence, analysts said, was a report showing weekly U.S. jobless claims fell more than expected and the trade deficit narrowed 28.3 percent in February.

"The Wells Fargo news was tremendous and everyone seems to be looking at a positive first quarter in the U.S.," said Melvin Harris, a market strategist at Advanced Currency Markets in New York. The combination of Wells Fargo news and the jobless claims report "have pushed risk appetite dramatically higher."

In afternoon trading in New York, the dollar was 0.8 percent higher versus the yen at 100.46 <JPY=>.

The euro fell to two-week lows versus the dollar at $1.3134 <EUR=> earlier. It last traded down 0.8 percent at $1.3150.

"This is mostly position-squaring and due to technicals. There seems to be no news behind this euro/dollar move," said Brian Dolan, chief currency strategist, at in Bedminster, New Jersey. "We had stops below $1.3220/30 and when that was triggered, people just sold."

Volume was thin, he added, because of the long Easter holiday weekend, exaggerating market moves. Financial markets are closed on Good Friday, while the London market is closed for Easter Monday.

Dan Cook, a currency analyst at IG Markets Inc. in Chicago said a break in euro/dollar through the 1.31 level may hint at further losses in the European currency to 1.2950 as early as next week, "when we have full participation back in the markets."

Against the yen, the euro was down 0.1 percent at 132.06 yen <EURJPY=> after trading higher for most of the session.

The euro was supported earlier by a rise in regional share prices .FTEU3, although the currency retreated after European Central Bank officials said the euro zone's main refinancing interest rate has room to go lower. They also added that additional non-standard measures are being planned. [ID:nL9117764].

ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said the bank had some leeway to cut its main interest rate from its current record low of 1.25 percent.

Currency markets have recently taken their cue from equities as big U.S. firms kicked off first-quarter earnings reports, with the focus on financial firms' results due next week.

Sterling fell 0.2 percent to $1.4668 <GBP=> on news that the Bank of England held interest rates at a record low 0.5 percent, as widely expected, and said it would continue with quantitative easing.

The Australian dollar rose to US$0.7188 <AUD=>, up 1.3 percent, another indication of higher risk appetite. (Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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