* U.S. economy adds 171,000 jobs; unemployment rate 7.9 pct
* Dollar hits more than 6-month peak vs yen, 1-month high vs
* Investors turn attention to presidential election on
By Wanfeng Zhou
NEW YORK, Nov 2 The U.S. dollar rallied broadly
on Friday, hitting a more than six-month peak against the yen
and a one-month high versus the euro, after data showed the U.S.
economy created more jobs than expected last month.
The greenback added to its gains versus the euro, sterling,
Swiss franc and the Australian dollar after the major U.S. stock
indexes surrendered gains and turned negative, boosting demand
for the safe-haven dollar. Heading into the closing bell, U.S.
stocks extended losses, with both the Dow Jones industrial
average and the Nasdaq composite index falling 1
U.S. employers stepped up hiring in October by adding
171,000 jobs, exceeding Wall Street's expectations. The
unemployment rate ticked higher to 7.9 percent, in line with
market expectations, with the increase resulting from more
workers restarting their job hunts.
"The market briefly traded on the fundamentals," said Ronald
Simpson, managing director of global currency analysis at Action
Economics in Tampa, Florida.
"But then we saw as Wall Street gave back its gains, the
dollar continued to move higher, at least against the European
(currencies)," he added." It looked like at some point, risk
The euro fell below its 200-day moving average of $1.2830 to
hit a low of $1.2819 on Reuters data - its lowest since
Oct. 1. It last traded at $1.2827, down 0.9 percent.
The euro has also been weighed down by a Greek court ruling
on Thursday indicating that pension reform demanded by foreign
lenders may be unconstitutional. That raised concerns about
Athens' ability to implement the austerity measures needed to
secure bailout funds.
The euro zone's common currency has held within the
$1.2800-$1.3200 range seen since September, underpinned by the
European Central Bank's pledge to buy the bonds of indebted
euro-zone countries that seek aid.
Signals in the option market showed the pair was likely to
trade in a range in coming weeks. The one-month implied
volatility on euro/dollar options fell to 7.55 percent
Against the yen, the euro slid 0.5 percent to 103.15
The dollar hit a high of 80.67 yen, its highest since
April 27. It was last at 80.37, up 0.3 percent.
Recent soft Japanese data and corporate earnings have
pressured the yen. Third-quarter economic output data, due on
Nov. 11, is also likely to have contracted.
A few Bank of Japan board members warned that a recession
in the world's third-largest economy could not be ruled out,
given recent weakness in industrial production, minutes of the
BOJ's Oct. 4-5 policy meeting showed - a sign more stimulus may
Against a basket of currencies, the dollar index rose to a
nearly two-month high of 80.610. It was last at 80.592,
up 0.7 percent.
For the week, the euro fell about 0.9 percent against the
dollar, the biggest weekly drop since the end of September. The
dollar rose about 1 percent versus the yen.
With the jobs data out of the way, analysts said investors
are quickly turning attention to the U.S. presidential election
on Tuesday. Polls show Obama and Republican Mitt Romney locked
in a dead heat in a race in which the nation's feeble jobs
market has been front and center.
"A Romney win will help investor confidence, and that will
bring some foreign capital, which has been sitting on the
sidelines, back into the U.S. market," driving the dollar and
equities higher, Simpson said.
Some, however, are less sure about a sustained rise in the
dollar as investors fret over the so-called "fiscal cliff" of
looming tax rises and spending cuts in the United States.
"Over the course of the next month, we would expect to move
lower in dollar/yen. Any upside above 81 would be surprising,
(given the) U.S. negativity surrounding the fiscal cliff," said
Christian Lawrence, currency strategist at Rabobank.