Euro up vs dollar on ECB talk, jobs data on tap

By Julie Haviv

NEW YORK (BestGrowthStock) – The euro rose on Thursday on market talk the European Central Bank was buying bonds, but lingering concerns about the outlook for peripheral euro zone countries should continue to put pressure on the currency.

With the ECB’s meeting concluded, the focus in markets shifted to U.S. data due on Friday on the labor market. The government is expected to report that nonfarm payrolls rose 140,000 last month, according to a Reuters survey.

Traders said the ECB was buying Portuguese and Irish debt, but there was disappointment ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet did not announce a more aggressive policy response to the euro zone debt crisis. For details, see [ID:nLDE6B10I4]

The premium that investors demanded to buy Portuguese and Irish debt over German benchmarks fell on Thursday, with traders saying the ECB had been buying the two countries’ bonds.

Most analysts said the euro’s 2-1/2 month low hit earlier this week would act as a strong support level for now. Traders are looking at the euro’s 100-day moving average at $1.3325 as the next resistance level.

“Euro/dollar was overdone to the topside on quantitative easing part 2 and went overdone on the downside on fears of an imminent euro zone crisis. I think we have come back to the euro’s fundamental valuation, which in our view, is actually $1.32-$1.33,” said Bob Sinche, global head of currency strategy at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut.

Sinche said he wouldn’t be surprised if the euro ends the week “somewhere north of the 200-day moving average and somewhere south of the 100-day moving average” depending on the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due on Friday.

In late New York trading, the euro was up 0.6 percent at $1.3223, with session lows at $1.3060. Traders cited stops right above $1.3225.

The ECB extended nonstandard provisions, committing to provide unlimited one-week, one-month and three-month funding for vulnerable banks until at least April, a move viewed by the market as too soft.

JOBS DATA SEEN STRONG

A stronger-than-expected gain in payrolls should bode well for the dollar.

Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York, said there does not seem to be any reason not to look for a relatively robust jobs report.

The string of data for the past several weeks has been not only better than expected but also suggested some modest acceleration of the U.S. economy, he wrote.

“There is some risk that the work week and hourly earnings, important elements of the report, may not show the same improvement as the job creation, but on balance a strong U.S. jobs report is likely,” he said.

SOME UNSURPRISED BY ECB

The ECB has been under pressure to soothe markets after a bailout plan for Ireland stoked speculation other euro zone nations struggling to repay debts may also seek help from the European community.

But some analysts were not surprised the ECB did not announce any new bond buying program as many members of the bank have opposed such action.

“So unless the now highly politicized situation is resolved, the euro is likely to continue to be under pressure in the near term,” said Aston Chan, portfolio manager at global macro hedge fund GLC in London. GLC has assets under management of around $1.2 billion.

The dollar was down 0.4 percent against the yen at 83.85, weighed down earlier by a rise in the latest U.S. weekly jobless claims.

(Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

Euro up vs dollar on ECB talk, jobs data on tap