(New throughout, updates market activity, adds comments;
changes byline, dateline, pvs LONDON)
* Euro hits roughly 6-month high vs dollar
* U.S. job growth rebounds sharply in April
* Traders remain bullish on euro ahead of French election
* Dollar remains slightly higher vs yen
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, May 5 The U.S. dollar hit its lowest
level in roughly six months against the euro on Friday after
data showing U.S. jobs growth rebounded sharply in April was not
enough to shake investors' bullishness toward the euro ahead of
the second round of France's presidential election.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls surged by 211,000 jobs last month, the
Labor Department said, beating expectations of economists polled
by Reuters for a gain of 185,000. The drop of one-tenth of a
percentage point in the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent took it
to its lowest level since May 2007.
Payrolls growth in March was revised downward to 79,000 from
98,000, however, and the labor force participation rate dipped
slightly to 62.9 percent from 63 percent.
Analysts said traders are anticipating that the euro will
rise above a technical barrier of $1.10 against the dollar if,
as expected, centrist Emmanuel Macron defeats anti-EU candidate
Marine Le Pen in Sunday's French election, and were remaining
bullish on the euro for that reason.
They also said the weaker March jobs figure and labor force
participation rate gave traders an excuse to continue holding
the euro. The euro hit $1.0991, its highest since early November
2016, after the U.S. jobs data and has risen to that level from
a 14-year low of $1.0339 touched in early January.
“People were looking for a Macron victory, the end of event
risk from the French election, for that to push us through
$1.10," said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange
strategy at BMO Capital Markets. "There’s nothing in the
payrolls data that is going to blow them out of the water from
The dollar rose slightly against the yen and was last up 0.1
percent against the Japanese currency at 112.54 yen after
the data, but remained below Thursday's roughly seven-week high
of 113.04 yen.
Analysts said the dollar remained at elevated levels against
the yen since the U.S. jobs data did little to challenge the
view that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in June.
“(The jobs data) is good news from the Fed’s perspective,"
said Stephen Casey, senior foreign exchange trader at Cambridge
Global Payments in New York.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a
basket of six major rivals but the majority of whose weighting
is against the euro, was last down 0.1 percent at 98.729 after
touching a roughly six-month low of 98.678 after the jobs data.
(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Additional reporting by Ritvik
Carvalho in London; Editing by Andrea Ricci)