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Wednesday July 29, 2009 - 10:40:21 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Dollar gains as investors shun risk

Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:21am EDT

* Dollar gains, recovering from recent falls

* Recent risk rally stalls as investors take profit

* Euro down 0.2 pct vs dollar; Aussie falls sharply

* Oil, US stock futures fall, though European shares rise

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

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - The dollar gained broadly on Wednesday, recovering from recent losses while investors took profits on currencies such as the euro and Australian dollar which have risen sharply recently.

Hopes the global economy is recovering were dented on Tuesday after data showed a drop in U.S. consumer sentiment, while falls in oil and other commodities weighed on commodity-linked currencies such as the Australian and Canadian dollars.

Falls in U.S. equity futures SPc1DJc1, as well as earlier steep falls in Chinese stocks .SSEC, sparked further jitters, though a 0.8 percent rise in European equities helped temper some of the euro's falls.

"The dollar is recovering as investors move out of riskier assets and into safe havens, while commodity-heavy currencies are all falling," said CMC Markets analyst James Hughes.

"How far the pullback in stocks goes is likely to be the key to gauging how much the dollar will gain," he added.

At 1002 GMT, the euro had fallen 0.2 percent against the dollar to $1.4145 EUR= after rising as high as $1.4305 on trading platform EBS on Tuesday, its highest since early June.

The dollar index, which measures its performance against a basket of currencies, rose 0.3 percent to 79.060 .DXY, recovering after hitting a 2009 low of 78.315 the previous day.

The yen pared earlier gains, however, with some traders saying a report that Sumitomo Trust and Banking Co (8403.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has agreed to buy Citigroup's (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Nikko Asset Management, for about 100 billion yen [ID:nTFA006417] helped weigh on the Japanese currency.

The euro was steady against the yen at 133.97 yen EURJPY=, while the dollar rose 0.2 percent to 94.70 yen JPY=.


A fall of more than 5 percent in Chinese stocks, partly reflecting concerns that Chinese banks may begin to restrict lending, helped push oil prices CLc1 down more than 2 percent, while prices of gold and metals such as copper also fell.

This weighed heavily on the commodity-based currencies, which have benefitted the most from the recent rally in riskier assets.

The biggest mover was the Australian dollar, which corrected some of the steep gains on Tuesday that propelled it to a 10-month high against the U.S. dollar in response to hawkish comments by Australia's central bank governor.

The Australian currency fell 0.9 percent against the dollar to $0.8199 AUD=D4, after hitting a high of around $0.8340 on Tuesday.

The Canadian dollar -- which is particularly sensitive to movements in the oil price -- was also down sharply, with the U.S. dollar up 0.6 percent at C$1.0870 CAD=.

"We have had a very strong rally in risky assets and the market has been looking for reasons to take profit. Given the levels reached, a near-term extension of the rally looked unsustainable," said Michael Klawitter, senior currency strategist at Dresdner Kleinwort in Frankfurt.

"But I see this as a temporary rise in risk perception rather than the start of a new trend," he added.

Analysts also noted that thin summer trading may be prompting stronger-than-usual movements in major currency pairs.

Later Friday, investors will be looking ahead to the Federal Reserve's release of its Beige Book of Economic Conditions at 1800 GMT on Wednesday, while focus this week remains on U.S. second-quarter gross domestic product figures on Friday.

The market also awaits more U.S. Treasury auctions this week and the effect on yields. (Reporting by Jessica Mortimer; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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