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Thursday July 8, 2010 - 12:31:03 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Euro, riskier FX buoyed by Aussie data, ECB eyed

8:04am EDT

* Euro hits 2-mth high vs dlr, trims gains

* Aussie jumps vs yen, dlr after jobs data beats forecasts

* Investors await Trichet comments, ECB holds rates

(Adds quotes, prices)

By Lin Noueihed

LONDON, July 8 (Reuters) - The euro hit a two-month high against the dollar on Thursday after strong Australian jobs data boosted higher-risk currencies, while investors awaited European Central Bank comments on bank stress tests and money markets.

A jump in Australian employment in June drove the Australian dollar up more than 1 percent on the day against the dollar and nearly 2 percent higher against the yen. [ID:nSGE66702T]

Markets awaited comments by ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet for clues on whether upcoming stress tests will effectively gauge the health of European banks. [ID:nLDE6670DA]

Investors also want to see whether the ECB is happy with a recent rise in money market rates or may seek to increase liquidity, possibly via tenders with longer maturities.

Trichet will speak at 1230 GMT, after the European Central Bank earlier kept interest rates at a record low 1.0 percent at its monthly meeting.

"The euro is on a reasonably good uptrend. If Trichet sounds a bit more optimistic today on money markets and bank stress tests we will see that uptrend continue," Daragh Maher, deputy head of foreign exchange research at Credit Agricole, said.

"Markets seem comfortable we will get reasonably testing assumptions in the tests but Trichet will avoid addressing the issue directly. He will say wait for the results."

The euro EUR= climbed to $1.2688 in Asia, its highest since mid-May, before trimming gains to $1.2650 at 1151 GMT. It barely moved after the ECB's rate announcement.

It hovered in a tight range in Europe, chained down by options set to expire later in the day at $1.2650 and $1.2655.

The Aussie was 1.4 percent higher versus the yen at 76.84 yen AUDJPY=R, after hitting 77.48 yen, its highest in more than a week, on the back of data showing Australia created 45,900 jobs in June, much higher than forecasts for 17,500.

It rose around 1.2 percent on the day against the dollar to $0.8762 AUD=D4, touching its highest in almost two weeks.

The yen was one of the day's biggest losers as a 0.7 percent rise in European shares stoked risk demand, prompting investors to shed long positions in the low-yielding currency.

The dollar JPY= rose 0.7 percent to a one-week high of 88.46 yen, while the euro rose 0.5 percent against the Japanese currency.

Sterling GBP=D4 slipped 0.3 percent to $1.5135, pulling away from a two-month high of $1.5241 after an early rally triggered an unwinding of some long positions.

It barely moved after the Bank of England kept interest rates unchanged at a record low 0.5 percent, as widely expected.

Against a basket of six major currencies .DXY, the dollar hit a fresh two-month low of 83.707 before recovering to 83.941.

FURTHER EURO CORRECTION?

The euro has rallied on short covering after hitting a four-year low of $1.1876 in early June, but analysts were not convinced it has snapped its downward trend.

"The euro correction is lasting longer than most investors were expecting, but it hasn't reached a point where anyone believes a new upward trend has started," said Audrey Childe-Freeman, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.

She added that a disappointing run of U.S. data, including dismal payrolls last week, was prolonging the corrective phase as markets have shifted their negative focus to fundamental weakness in the United States, from euro zone debt worries.

While Childe-Freeman expected economic data from Australia and China next week may further boost risk demand and support the euro, she added that any signs of weakness in the euro zone -- fundamental or fiscal -- may put the brakes on its rally.

Resistance at the May 21 high of $1.2673 was proving hard to break cleanly while further resistance was seen at $1.2767-80.

That is where downtrend resistance emerges as a line connecting highs hit in December 2009 and April. It is also a 50 percent retracement of the euro's fall from mid-April to June.

(Additional reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Nigel Stephenson and Susan Fenton)

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