Dollar retreats, with yen rallying

By Michael Kitchen, MarketWatch

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — The U.S. dollar pulled back from its gains, losing ground against most other majors Friday and falling almost half a yen against its Japanese rival.

The ICE dollar index DXY -0.12% , which measures the greenback against six other major currencies, slipped to 82.571 from 82.783 late Thursday in North America.

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The yen rises after Japanese stocks take a sudden dive in morning trade.
The WSJ Dollar index XX:BUXX -0.17% , which uses a slightly larger comparison basket, fell to 74.76 from 75.93.

The yen USDJPY -0.05% was saw strong gains, with the dollar dropping to ¥100.01 from late Thursday’s ¥100.50 after Japanese stocks took a sudden dive in morning trade due to selling on the futures market.

Tokyo’s blue-chip Nikkei Stock Average JP:NIK -1.48% lurched from an almost 1% gain to a more than 2% loss as futures traders unwound positions, with investors looking ahead to a likely win for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the weekend’s upper-house elections.

The yen had lost ground in recent days, with Credit Agricole strategists attributing the loss to rising risk sentiment, as well as the view that should the LDP take a majority in the upper house as expected, it would ease passage of pro-growth policies from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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However, they also said that “should [Abe’s LDP] win two-thirds of the upper house, it may negatively impact sentiment, as expectation for him to start focusing on nationalistic policies would rise,” though they added that such a large victory remains unlikely.

The euro EURUSD +0.13% also improved against the dollar, rising to $1.3136 from $1.3110 late Thursday, while the British pound GBPUSD +0.22% advanced to $1.5234 from $1.5220.

Likewise, the Australian dollar AUDUSD +0.46% edged up to 91.81 U.S. cents from 91.71 cents.

Michael Kitchen is Asia editor for MarketWatch and is based in Los Angeles. You can follow him on Twitter at @KitchenNews.

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