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Tuesday April 14, 2009 - 10:32:14 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro falls vs dlr, yen; US retail sales data eyed

Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:57am EDT

* Euro down 0.5 pct vs dlr <EUR=>, 1 pct vs yen <EURJPY=R>

* Investors wary ahead of a string of US corporate earnings

* U.S. retail sales data in focus at 1230 GMT

* Strong Goldman results lifts sentiment towards financials

(Updates prices, adds quotes)

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, April 14 (Reuters) - The euro fell against the dollar and the yen on Tuesday as investors shrugged off rises in European equity markets and stayed cautious ahead of U.S. retail sales data and a string of upcoming U.S. corporate earnings.

Investor wariness stoked demand for the perceived safety of the U.S. dollar as well as the yen, while it pressured the euro and other currencies seen as higher risk -- such as the Australian dollar.

The euro failed to extend gains on Monday that took it close to $1.34 against the dollar, its highest level in nearly a week, after forecast-busting Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) results fanned optimism about the outlook for financial firms. [ID:nN13387020]

Analysts said caution ahead of a raft of other U.S. corporate results to come and ongoing worries about a shaky global economy prevented the single currency from moving higher, even as European shares jumped by nearly 2 percent .FTEU3.

"Euro/dollar has been a bit choppy over the last week, which is an indication that people are not sure of the near-term direction despite the nice Goldman results," said Niels Christensen, Nordea currency strategist in Copenhagen.

Earnings due later in the day include those of Intel (INTC.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), while the market was also awaiting March U.S. retails sales data due at 1230 GMT for any signs of a recovery in consumer spending.

At 0940 GMT, the euro fell 0.5 percent against the dollar to $1.3292 <EUR=> and by 1.0 percent versus the yen at 132.41 yen <EURJPY=R>.

The dollar also fell by 0.4 percent against the yen to 99.64 yen <JPY=>, though its broad gains against other currencies pushed it higher on a trade-weighted basis to 84.801 .DXY.

Although this leaves currencies out of step with current trends in equities -- where gains usually lift higher-risk FX -- analysts expect stock market trends to provide direction in the coming days, in the absence of any other major drivers.

"The equity market is setting the agenda for the FX market, though retail sales data out of the U.S. may give some direction this afternoon," Nordea's Christensen said.


Goldman posted a higher-than-expected $1.7 billion profit on Monday which helped to lift sentiment, particularly coming on the back of last week's announcement by Wells Fargo (WFC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) that it expects to post a record $3 billion first-quarter profit.

The news initially boosted higher risk currencies against the dollar and the yen, taking the Australian dollar to 73.49 yen <AUDJPY=R>, its highest since mid-October.

The boost faded on Tuesday, however, with the Aussie dollar last down 0.6 percent at 72.59 yen, as investors looked ahead to results later this week from beleaguered Citigroup (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), as well as JP Morgan (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and blue chip General Electric (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

"The Goldman report encouraged sentiment towards the financial sector, but the market will need more positive news to give it any direction," Stockholm-based SEB currency strategist Johan Javeus said.

Sterling bucked the trend among higher-risk currencies, however, with gains in UK shares .FTSE -- and particularly significant gains in financial stocks -- helping the pound to a five-week high of 89.28 pence per euro <GBPEUR=>.

Meanwhile, concerns about the U.S. auto sector weighed on market sentiment, with growing fears that General Motors Corp may file for bankruptcy pushing shares in the company down around 13 percent in Frankfurt (GM.F: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

The New York Times reported late on Sunday that the U.S. Treasury Department was directing GM to lay the groundwork for a bankruptcy filling should it fail to agree debt-for-equity deals with stakeholders [ID:nN12356870].

Global economic worries also weighed as Singapore announced it was effectively devaluing its currency after posting its worst quarterly economic contraction ever on Tuesday [ID:nSP477086]. (Reporting by Jessica Mortimer; editing by Chris Pizzey)

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