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Friday May 1, 2009 - 10:44:35 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Yen, dlr fall as shares rise, sentiment improves

Fri May 1, 2009 6:40am EDT

* Yen falls broadly, hits 2-wk low vs euro, dollar

* Euro/dollar up as demand for risk improves

* Aussie dlr jumps 1.7 pct vs yen; Chysler news brushed off

* U.S. ISM manufacturing data due at 1400 GMT

(Updates prices; changes byline, dateline; previous SYDNEY)

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) - The yen fell to two-week lows against the dollar and the euro on Friday, while the dollar also fell versus both the euro and perceived higher-risk currencies as investors hope the worst may be over for the global economy.

Risk appetite has been boosted by recent global economic data and a note of optimism from the U.S. Federal Reserve earlier this week.

Currencies regarded as higher-risk such as the Australian dollar benefited strongly, and a rise in U.S. stock futures also helped sentiment with the S&P 500 futures SPc1 up 0.3 percent.

Trading was thin and relatively volatile, however, with European markets closed due to the May Day holiday.

"It's very quiet, with movements largely flow-driven, but there's still a slight bid to risk," RBC Capital Markets currency strategist Christian Lawrence said.

"Currencies continue to be driven by equities and risk appetite and the riskier, commodity-based currencies have outperformed against the perceived safe-haven yen and dollar," he said.

At 1011 GMT, the euro rose 1.2 percent against the yen to 131.86 yen, just shy of an earlier two-week high around 132.00 yen <EURJPY=R>, while the dollar gained 0.8 percent to 99.34 yen <JPY=>, having hit a two-week high around 99.58 yen.

The euro rose 0.4 percent against the dollar to $1.3272 <EUR=>, which helped to push the dollar's trade-weighted index down 0.3 percent to 84.554 .DXY.

The Australian dollar jumped 0.9 percent against the dollar to $0.7325 <AUD=> and by 1.7 percent against the yen, hitting a two-week high around 72.82 yen <AUDJPY=R>.

The New Zealand dollar rose 1.2 percent against the dollar to $0.5718 <NZD=>, while the Canadian dollar was also firmer, with the U.S. dollar down 0.5 percent at C$1.1880 <CAD=>.


The U.S. ISM report on manufacturing is due at 1400 GMT and is expected to mark an improvement after economic reports showed that business activity in the U.S. Midwest contracted at a much less severe rate in April.

Investors were encouraged by data overnight showing that Chinese manufacturing activity gained further momentum in April [ID:nPEK279290], as well as by Friday's better-than-expected UK manufacturing survey [ID:nLU86907].

"The Chinese PMI data showed a further rebound and this has given more support to commodity currencies and put the yen under more pressure," BNP Paribas currency strategist Ian Stannard said.

For the time being, the market brushed off a number of factors lurking in the background that could dent appetite for risk, but investors remained cautious.

News emerged that U.S. automaker Chrysler has filed for bankruptcy [ID:nSP457891], intensifying concerns about the fate of U.S. automakers, while next week's release of the results of U.S. stress tests on banks will be closely monitored.

A source familiar with administration talks said the stress tests announcement -- originally scheduled for Monday -- had been pushed back, possibly to May 6, and that officials are leaning towards results of individual banks rather than summary results [ID:nN30527288].

Sentiment also remains vulnerable to any news that may hint at a flu pandemic that would be severe enough to dent global economic recovery as Mexico began shutting down parts of its economy to slow the spread of the virus. nFLU.

(Reporting by Jessica Mortimer; editing by Stephen Nisbet)

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