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Tuesday March 6, 2007 - 11:24:21 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX NEWS-Yen falls as rising stocks stall broad rally

FOREX-Yen falls as rising stocks stall broad rally
Tue Mar 6, 2007 6:18am ET31

(Updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline)

By Veronica Brown

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - The yen slipped against the dollar and euro while higher-yielding currencies rebounded on Tuesday as rising stocks helped stem a week-long sell-off in risky carry trades.

Over the past week investors have rushed to unwind carry positions, funded in the low-yielding yen or Swiss franc, as a decline in global stocks and concerns about the U.S. economy fanned investor risk aversion.

The magnitude of the move, which saw the yen post its biggest weekly percentage gain against the euro since August 2003, has exhausted investors, prompting them to pause and assess the climate for risk.

However, some analysts said the market is far from done with cutting exposure to "one-way bets" in the carry trade.

"The market is very nervous and it's a bit too dangerous to say this is the end of the correction and cautiously get back in. Precedent would suggest there's probably a bit more to come," ING head of FX strategy Chris Turner said.

"If you look at what the Nikkei (share index) did overnight, it actually traded inside yesterday's range after a five-day drop so it hasn't really suggested any firm signs of stabilisation just yet," he added.

By 1105 GMT, the euro had risen more than one percent on the day to 152.98 yen , before paring gains slightly to stand at 152.89.

The rise came after a week of carry trade unwinding took the euro to a 3-1/2 month low of 150.76 yen on Tuesday from its record high near 160 set late in February. The dollar was up 0.8 percent at 116.60 yen , after hitting a three-month low of 115.13 on Monday and posting its biggest weekly fall since December 2005 last week.

Dealers say a jump in sterling against the yen from a five-month low hit earlier in the day sparked a broad rise in higher-yielding currencies against the yen, driving up the Australian and New Zealand dollars more than 1 percent.

Sterling had been hit particularly hard, suffering its biggest weekly loss last week against the yen since Nov 1999, as it had been one of the biggest beneficiaries from carry trades.

The euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.3112 , after hitting 2-1/2 week lows on Monday.

YEN AND RISK

Over the past week the yen saw an inverted correlation with stocks as well as risk aversion.

On Tuesday Tokyo stocks closed 1.22 percent higher, snapping a five-day losing streak, and other equity markets in Asia also bounced back. European shares opened higher, with U.S. stock futures were pointing to a higher open on Wall Street.

Analysts say the market could remain calm ahead of the next set of data and events which may unsettle markets again.

"Given the speed of the recent move in the JPY's favour, many may view any weakening in the JPY as a second chance to liquidate (old positions). Overall, further volatility looks likely in the week ahead," Mellon Bank head of currency research Ian Gunner said in a note to clients.

U.S. factory orders and home sales figures are due later, ahead of a closely-watched February jobs report on Friday.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke also speaks later.

Several monetary policy meetings are also due later in the week. The European Central Bank is expected to raise rates by 25 basis points to 3.75 percent after its meeting on Thursday.

Central banks in Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as Britain are scheduled to hold rate-setting meetings.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

 

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