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Wednesday May 6, 2009 - 21:32:29 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-US dollar falls as stock gain, data boost risk sentiment

Wed May 6, 2009 4:49pm EDT

* Dollar falls against basket on stock gain, ADP data

* U.S. bank stress tests, ECB, BOE meeting loom

* U.S. private-sector jobs data boosts sentiment (Updates prices, adds comment, detail)

By Wanfeng Zhou

NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar fell against major currencies on Wednesday as gains in world stocks and a much better-than-expected U.S. labor market report dampened the greenback's safe-haven appeal.

The euro rose against the dollar, but gains were capped ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting on Thursday when the central bank is expected to cut interest rates. The central bank may also announce measures to stimulate lending and growth.

Investors also awaited the release of results of stress tests on U.S. banks on Thursday. The Wall Street Journal reported that JPMorgan does not need more capital under the test, while other news reports suggested the capital shortfalls for Citigroup and others might be less than expected. For more, see [ID:nN06277284] [ID:nL6943131].

"People are comfortable getting back into risk. You're seeing it everywhere," said David Watt, senior currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets in Toronto.

In late New York trading, the ICE Futures U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, fell 0.4 percent to 83.827 .DXY.

The euro was changing hands at $1.3338 <EUR=>, up 0.1 percent, after having earlier climbed as high as $1.3374 after ADP Employer Services data showed U.S. private-sector job losses slowed much more than expected in April. See [ID:nL6988685].

The ADP data was a "pretty significant indicator that the green shoots are getting deeper roots," Watt said.

The government will release the more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report on Friday. Economists expect Friday's payrolls report to show the economy shed 620,000 jobs in April.

The improved risk appetite also lifted higher-yielding currencies, with the Australian dollar up 1.1 percent at US$0.7491 <AUD=> and the New Zealand dollar up 0.9 percent at US$0.5848 <NZD=>.

Against the Japanese yen, the dollar last traded down 0.6 percent at 98.29 yen <JPY=>. The euro fell 0.4 percent to 131.08 yen <EURJPY=>,


Analysts said uncertainty ahead of the stress test results and the release of a key jobs market report on Friday helped confine most major currencies in ranges, but they added that it will need some major shocks to kill the recent optimism in financial markets.

"A lot of bouncing around," said Andrew Busch, global FX strategist at BMO Capital Markets in Chicago. "There's some nervousness over the actual release of the stress test tomorrow and of course going into Friday we have the nonfarm payrolls number."

Also on Thursday, the ECB is expected to cut interest rates to a record low 1.0 percent on Thursday, though traders were more interested in whether it announces other so-called unconventional measures, such as buying securities.

The euro has risen sharply in recent sessions, hitting a one-month high near $1.3440 earlier this week, after a slew of economic reports from around the globe stoked hopes that the world economy may be through the worst of the recession, helping to dry up safe-haven flows into the U.S. dollar.

"My guess would be that the ECB remains very cautious about engaging in quantitative easing," Busch said. But "I think it's priced in."

The Bank of England also meets on Thursday and is seen holding its benchmark interest rate at 0.5 percent, a record low. [ID:nL6959340]

Sterling was last up 0.5 percent at $1.5132 <GBP=>.

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