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Friday November 9, 2007 - 11:25:52 GMT
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GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar selling accelerates; stocks steady

 
Fri Nov 9, 2007 6:12am EST

(Updates with latest dollar moves)

By Natsuko Waki

LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - The dollar hit record lows against the euro and a 1-1/2 year trough against the yen on Friday as a warning from the Federal Reserve chief on U.S. economic growth reinforced interest rate cut expectations, which in turn aided battered stocks.

The dollar also tumbled to a 26-year low against sterling. Weakness in the U.S. currency lifted safe-haven gold towards this week's 28-year peak and helped oil prices, which launched a fresh assault on the $100 a barrel milestone.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Thursday that the U.S. economy might see slower growth going into next year and that credit market strains have persisted.

"There is ongoing nervousness about the U.S.. The markets have taken the negative warnings from Bernanke to heart and have used that as another reason to sell the dollar," Jeremy Stretch, currency strategist at Rabobank. "The market continues to anticipate additional Fed cuts, so those interest rates spreads continue to work against the dollar."

The dollar had fallen to around $1.4740 per euro <EUR=>, and it hit the low of $2.1144 per pound sterling <GBP=>. The U.S. currency also fell more than 1-1/2 yen on the day to below 111 yen <JPY=>.

Interest rate futures price in a 90 percent chance of a Fed interest rate cut in December to 4.25 percent.

"While the clearest near-term risk to the downtrend in the USD is risk aversion driven position squaring, the real end game may also be beginning to take shape," Bank of Scotland Treasury said in a note to clients.

BOS said the eventual low in the dollar was likely to be marked by sharp weakness in the dollar against the yen and the Swiss franc, as well as a move beyond $1.50 per euro.

"Such a capitulation will tick all the boxes required to galvanise policymakers -- a fast paced move to extreme levels. At this point all parties can agree that further USD declines against advanced economy currencies are undesirable," it said.

Foreign exchange is set to be on the agenda for policymakers gathering near Cape Town next week for the Group of 20 meeting.

STOCKS MOSTLY REBOUND

Credit concerns returned to the fore after ratings agency Standard & Poor's said late on Thursday that the trustee of a collateralised debt obligation managed by State Street Global Advisors may have started selling assets.

The report raised worries that a wider array of structured securities may face similar action.

However, expectations of growth-supportive rate cuts helped stocks limit losses earlier this week on credit concerns and inflation fears from surging commodity prices.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research) was steady on the day.

MSCI main world equity index (.MIWD00000PUS: Quote, Profile, Research) was also steady on the day. Emerging stocks (.MSCIEF: Quote, Profile, Research) were slightly firmer, gaining support from firmer commodity prices.

Tokyo stocks (.N225: Quote, Profile, Research) fell more than 1 percent on a report that an unlisted brokerage arm of Mizuho Financial Group (8411.T: Quote, Profile, Research) may post a subprime-related loss of over 100 billion yen ($888 million) and delay a merger.

The iTraxx Crossover index <ITCRS5EA=GFI>, a widely watched indicator for European credit market sentiment, was little changed at 366 basis points. Emerging sovereign spreads (11EMJ: Quote, Profile, Research) tightened by 2 bps.

The December Bund future (FGBLZ7: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 19 ticks.

U.S. light crude (CLc1: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 0.5 percent at $95.94 a barrel. Gold <XAU=> rose to $834.25 an ounce, closing in on the peak of $850 -- a record hit in January 1980.

(Reporting by Natsuko Waki, additional reporting by Toni Vorobyova; editing by David Stamp)

© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

 

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