Dollar softens on Greece aid agreement

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter

NEW YORK ( -- The dollar eased against the euro Friday after European Union leaders announced a plan to aid Greece if the debt-stricken nation needs to be rescued.

What prices are doing: The dollar was down 1.3% versus the euro to $1.3411 and it fell 0.9% against the U.K. pound to trade at $1.4898. Against the Japanese yen the dollar was down 0.7% to ¥92.52.

What's moving the market: European leaders meeting at a summit in Brussels on Thursday approved an emergency bailout plan that could be used to rescue the Greek economy and keep its financial crisis from spreading across the continent.

The bailout would include money from euro-area member states, but it also could involve substantial funding from the International Monetary Fund.

The accord helped boost the euro, though analysts said the outlook for the shared currency remains cloudy.

"We view this as a positive development but still note that it falls short of the optimal solution of a Eurozone-only bailout," Camilla Sutton, currency strategist at Scotia Capital said in a research report.

The euro and other high-yielding currencies also benefited as U.S. stocks regained ground in afternoon trading, reflecting increased demand for more risky assets.

Meanwhile, concerns about the fiscal challenges facing the United States weighed on the dollar following a series of lackluster auctions of U.S. Treasurys this week.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year note eased Friday after climbing to a 9-month high of 3.9% on Thursday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

What analysts are saying: Sutton notes that rising yields on shorter term U.S. Treasury notes, which indicates that investors may be anticipating a shift towards tighter U.S. monetary policy, would normally support the greenback.

"However, the more notable jump higher in yields in the long-end hints that there are increasing concerns over the fiscal position of the U.S., which in the medium term would prove to be a U.S. dollar negative," she added.

Still, the news out of Europe has eased some of the uncertainty surrounding Greece, which analysts say will continue to benefit higher yielding currencies.

"Today there is some relief in markets, but any further rise in U.S. yields will be concerning," Sutton said.  To top of page

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