* U.S. non-farm payrolls rise 146,000 in November * Euro extends post-ECB fall; Germany cuts growth outlook * Yen briefly strengthens after Japan earthquake By Wanfeng Zhou NEW YORK, Dec 7 The dollar edged higher against the euro on Friday after a government report showed U.S. employment grew more than expected in November, but the less-encouraging details limited gains. The dollar had soared immediately after the data as the stronger-than-expected headline number stoked speculation the Federal Reserve could opt for a smaller stimulus program next week. But it pared gains versus the euro and turned slightly lower against the yen as traders scrutinized the details. While nonfarm employment increased by 146,000 jobs last month, showing little apparent impact from superstorm Sandy, job growth for previous months was revised lower and a drop in the jobless rate to a near four-year low was because people gave up the search for work. "There's a lot of speculation on how much impact Sandy has on the data. The number just feels wrong," said Ronald Simpson, managing director of global currency analysis at Action Economics in Tampa, Florida. "That's why we've seen things come unwound back to pre-data levels because everybody is going to look ahead and wait for the revisions." The euro fell to a session low of $1.2878 on Reuters data, matching the low set on Nov. 28. It was last down 0.2 percent at $1.2936. The common currency pared losses in late morning trade, with traders citing a Market News International report that said senior European Central Bank Executive Board members, including President Mario Draghi and Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, opposed a rate cut supported by the majority at the ECB's most recent policy meeting on Thursday. "Whether this reduces the likelihood of a cut going forward, the forex market perceives a more hawkish than dovish stance and created significant short covering," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co LLC in New York. Weakness in the euro came as Germany's central bank said it expected Europe's largest economy to grow just 0.4 percent in 2013, and pointed to risks of a recession as the euro zone debt crisis takes its toll. The euro lost 0.8 percent against the dollar on Thursday after ECB President Mario Draghi said policymakers had discussed cutting borrowing costs and slashed growth and inflation forecasts for the euro zone. ECB policymaker Jozef Makuch said the bank may cut interest rates next year if the euro zone economy does not improve. Attention now turns to the U.S. central bank, which begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday. Policymakers are expected to maintain support for the tentative U.S. recovery by ramping up one bond-buying program to offset the expiration of another. "The real question is whether (the jobs data) changes the Fed's attitude toward more stimulus. It doesn't remove the need for stimulus but might convince the Fed to opt for a smaller program," said Kathy Lien, managing director of BK Asset Management in New York. Fed stimulus is viewed as negative for the dollar because it equates to printing money, which lowers U.S. bond yields and diminishes the appeal of holding dollar-denominated assets. The dollar rallied as high as 82.82 yen on Reuters data, matching a near eight-month high set on Nov. 22. It was last at 82.36 yen, down 0.1 percent on the day. The yen briefly rose against the euro and dollar after news of an earthquake in Japan. A far more powerful earthquake in March 2011 led to a sharp rise in the yen on expectations Japanese investors would repatriate funds held abroad. Investors also closely watched developments on the U.S. "fiscal cliff" debate. Republican House Speaker John Boehner accused U.S. President Barack Obama of pushing the country toward the "fiscal cliff" on Friday and of wasting another week without progress in the talks.
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