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Monday May 11, 2009 - 10:15:32 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dlr up from 4-mth low, yen up as risk rally fades

Mon May 11, 2009 6:06am EDT

* Dollar index up, recovers from 4-month low

* Dlr extends losses vs yen after HSBC results

* High-yielders retreat from multi-month peaks

(Adds quotes, updates prices)

By Kirsten Donovan

LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) - The dollar recovered from its lowest level in four months against a basket of currencies and the yen climbed on Monday as investors turned cautious after last week's hefty rally in riskier assets.

The dollar fell against the yen after banking giant HSBC (HSBA.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported first quarter pre-tax profits ahead of last year's but also said loan impairment charges and other credit charges were higher over the same period [ID:nLB716280].

Emboldened by data showing slowing U.S. job losses on Friday, investors in Asia diversified into other currencies, pushing the dollar index .DXY to a fresh four-month low earlier in the session on hopes the worst of the economic slump may be over.

But with the economic outlook still far from certain, investors were reluctant to push riskier assets even higher and instead booked profits, particularly in banking shares.

"U.S. stock futures are off and the market has run with that a little bit," said Steven Barrow, head of G10 FX Research at Standard Bank.

"You look at the risk positions and they've been pared back a bit but a lot of the currencies have had a good run, so it's a bit of a pullback, the question is whether it's a pullback to buy in to or something more sinister."

European shares .FTEU3 were 1.3 percent lower and banking shares were down twice as much .SX7p, while U.S. stock futures SPc1DJc1 pointed to a lower start on Wall Street.

The ICE futures U.S. dollar index, which tracks the dollar versus a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.3 percent on the day at 82.661 .DXY. Earlier on Monday it dipped to 82.292, its lowest since early January, after breaking support from its 200-day moving average on Friday.

The euro fell 1.1 percent to 132.65 yen <EURJPY=R> after briefly hitting a one-month high at 134.81 earlier, while the dollar was 0.8 percent lower at 97.7 yen <JPY=>.

The euro was down 0.5 percent at $1.3581 <EUR=>, having earlier hit a seven-week high at $1.3670 on trading platform EBS.


The euro had climbed 1.7 percent on Friday, helped by a break through its 200-day moving average, a key technical resistance on the charts.

"We had a big squeeze up during Friday and into this morning, especially in terms of euro/dollar which went up towards the $1.37 resistance," said Rabobank strategist Jeremy Stretch.

"But while we have seen some caution this morning that's capped the dollar's slide, the direction in the short-term is still going to be determined by equity markets sentiment and global recovery prospects."

Analysts said with several risk events out of the way such as stress tests for U.S. banks and jobs data, investors were generally more confident, although there was little in the way of near-term events to keep up that momentum.

Standard Bank's Barrow said that there currently wasn't enough momentum to see a significant break higher for the euro just now even if it did get above the $1.37/1.38 area, and that a further improvement in sentiment would be needed.

"As markets improve then the performance of investors, and hedge funds in particular, will improve and encourage them to feel redemptions could be diminishing and they can put more risk to work, getting out of dollars and investing overseas," he said.

The New Zealand dollar was up 0.2 percent on the day at $0.6050, having earlier climbed to its highest in six months above $0.6100 <NZD=D4> and the Australian dollar was down 0.8 percent at $0.7630 <AUD=> after hitting a seven-month peak in early Asian trade at $0.7714 <AUD=D4>. (Reporting by Kirsten Donovan; Editing by Toby Chopra

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