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Wednesday November 28, 2007 - 12:28:05 GMT
Reuters - www.reuters.com

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FOREX NEWS-Dollar hits 1-week highs, firmer tone seen fleeting

Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:03am EST

(Changes byline, updates prices, quotes)

By Meg Clothier

LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The dollar rose to one-week highs versus the euro, the yen and the Swiss franc on Wednesday, as investors took profits on the U.S. currency's recent slump to multi-year lows and thin volumes accentuated market moves. The more positive tone on the dollar was kick-started on Tuesday after news that Abu Dhabi Investment Authority was buying an equity stake in Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research), giving confidence to investors rattled by fears of more credit market troubles as the year-end approaches.

Consequent gains in U.S. stock markets overnight [.N] attracted investors into dollar-denominated assets.

However, analysts said dollar strength was likely to be short-lived given the weak tone in U.S. economic data, prospects for further Federal Reserve interest rate cuts and the trickle of bad news from financial companies hit by the credit crunch.

"I wouldn't say this is a significant move at this stage. It is consistent with (euro/dollar) declines we've seen over the last few months -- where those declines have only lasted a few days," said Steve Barrow, currency strategist at Bear Stearns.

"I don't think this one will be any different."

The euro fell around 0.7 percent to a one-week low of $1.4724 according to Reuters data, more than two cents below record highs struck at the end of last week <EUR=>.

"Having got up close to $1.50 and then come off quite quickly, that's a fairly negative technical sign," Barrow added.

However, German sports car maker Porsche (PSHG_p.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) earlier said it had extended its currency hedging period out to six years because it believed the euro could appreciate to $1.50 or even $1.60.

The dollar rose 1.1 percent versus the Swiss franc <CHF=> by 1151 GMT and hit one-week highs around 110.01 yen <JPY=>.

MORE ON CREDIT WOES

However concerns about the health of the U.S. economy and thus dollar weakness could be reignited by a weak reading from the existing home sales for October at 1500 GMT.

The Federal Reserve's beige book report -- an anecdotal summary of economic conditions nationwide -- is also due.

Fed Governor Donald Kohn speaks later in the day at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, while Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher will speak on the regional economy.

The Fed is widely expected to cut interest rates by a quarter percentage point in December to 4.25 percent and again next year to stem the economic fallout from the housing debacle, and the reduction in rates has eroded the dollar's yield appeal.

"(The) combination of a broad based tightening in credit conditions and a worsening in housing downturn ... has pushed the risk of a U.S. recession in 2008 to 40-45 percent," Goldman Sachs wrote in a note to clients.

"(And) therefore we believe that an easier policy reaction will be required to counter the downside risks to growth."

Highlighting the ongoing stream of credit hits, No.2 U.S. mortgage lender Wells Fargo said late on Tuesday it would take a $1.4 billion charge in the fourth quarter, mainly on higher losses from home equity loans.

U.S. housing finance company Freddie Mac said it would halve its quarterly dividend and sell $6 billion in preferred stock to bolster capital in anticipation of mortgage-related losses.

Analysts at JPMorgan Chase estimated that losses on collateralised debt obligations backed by subprime mortgages could climb as high as $260 billion.

(Additional reporting by Toni Vorobyova)

© 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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