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Tuesday December 29, 2009 - 12:26:16 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro, Aussie gain vs dollar as stocks rise

7:02am EST

* Euro gains vs dlr as stocks rise; trade still very thin

* Aussie jumps more than 1 pct to 12-day high vs U.S. dollar

* Dlr stays supported vs yen on better U.S. economic outlook (Updates prices, adds quote)

By Jessica Mortimer

LONDON, Dec 29 (Reuters) - The euro and higher yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar rose against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, lifted by improved appetite for risk as equities gained ground.

Volumes were thin, however, and analysts were wary of drawing too many conclusions from intraday movements.

European shares <.FTEU3> rose 0.3 percent as investors remained in optimistic mood going into the year end to keep the euro and perceived riskier currencies supported.

"With so little in the way of data and not many people around the market has gone back to what it is familiar with and is trading on the back of stronger risk appetite, which is pushing the euro and higher-yielding currencies higher," said Christian Lawrence, currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets.

Against the yen, the dollar stayed supported, hovering close to a two-month high on the view that the U.S. economy is recovering well, which has lifted U.S. Treasury yields.

Later in the session, investors will scrutinise U.S. consumer confidence for December at 1500 GMT and the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index for October at 1400 GMT. <ECONUS>

At 1144 GMT, the euro was up 0.4 percent at $1.4438 <EUR=> as it continued to rebound from a 3-1/2-month low of $1.4218 hit a week ago.

The higher-yielding Australian dollar rose 1.2 percent to a 12-day high of $0.8984, edging back towards the $0.90 level. The New Zealand dollar <NZD=D4> also gained 1.3 percent to $0.7180.

The dollar index, a gauge for the greenback's performance against other six major currencies, fell 0.3 percent to 77.395 <.DXY>.

The dollar index was still in sight of a 3-1/2-month high of 78.449 hit last week, although some traders said the U.S. currency may struggle to rise further after speculators have finished covering short dollar positions.

Data on Monday showed speculators were long in the U.S. currency for the first time since May, ending 32 straight weeks of short dollar positions. [nN28138355]

"Anything that points in the direction of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates earlier than previously thought will support the dollar -- there has been no indication of this from the Fed but U.S. data recently has been coming in on the strong side," said Johan Javeus, SEB currency strategist in Stockholm.

Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.1 percent to 91.69 yen <JPY=>, within reach of a two-month high of 91.88 set last week.

Traders said upward pressure on long-term Treasury yields is providing support to the dollar against the yen after U.S. government bonds traded lower the previous day and pushed the benchmark 10-year note yield to its highest in nearly five months. [US/]

The dollar showed little reaction to the Federal Reserve's proposal on Monday to create a new mechanism, a "term deposit facility", to help the central bank's policymakers withdraw money from the banking system when they decide to tighten monetary policy. [nFEDAHEAD] (Reporting by Jessica Mortimer, editing by Mike Peacock)

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