- Dollar index rises but still near 15-month low
- Weak dollar trend to persist, analysts says
- Pound falls after Fitch warns on UK rating
- Euro struggles to hold above $1.50 (Recasts, updates prices, adds comment, byline)
By Steven C. Johnson
NEW YORK, Nov 10 (Reuters) - The dollar bounced off a 15-month low on Tuesday and the euro dipped below $1.50 as investors paused to assess whether the global outlook justifies a recent rally in higher-yielding currencies and assets.
The Dow industrials retreated from Monday's 13-month high, providing respite for the dollar, which investors borrow at low interest rates to finance trades in higher-yielding assets.
Sterling in particular struggled on Tuesday after Fitch ratings agency told Reuters that Britain was the major economy most at risk of losing its top AAA credit rating.
Analysts said the dollar was still out of favor, though, as investors expect benchmark U.S. interest rates to remain near zero into 2010 as the economy recovers from a harsh recession.
With many currencies reaching new highs recently, there is a reasonable amount of resistance toward a headlong lunge into fresh territory for now, said Andrew Wilkinson, senior analyst at Interactive Brokers Group in Greenwich, Connecticut.
John Doyle, foreign exchange strategist at Washington-based Tempus Consulting, added, yesterday, we might have moved a little too far too quickly.
The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.4957, more than a cent off its 2009 high above $1.5060. It hit $1.5020 earlier. The dollar was down 0.1 percent at 89.87 yen while the euro fell 0.4 percent to 134.44 yen.
An index of the dollar against six major currencies edged up 0.2 percent after hitting a 15-month low on Monday.
The euro wobbled after a German ZEW economic sentiment index showed that investors were more gloomy than at any time in the last four months. For details see [ID:nLA641918].
Concern about whether investors around the world have grown too optimistic also hit relatively high-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar, which slipped 0.3 percent against the U.S. unit at $0.9274 after climbing above $0.93 on strong Australian business confidence data. [ID:nSYU009020]
Sterling fell after Fitch Ratings said that of the four major economies with top-notch AAA status, the UK was the most at risk. That pushed the currency to $1.6602, nearly two cents off its session high, though it had ground its way back to $1.6709, down 0.3 percent, by mid-afternoon in New York.
David Riley, co-head of global sovereign ratings at Fitch, said if there was another significant fiscal stimulus package in highly indebted Britain its rating would be at risk.
The Fitch news was a reminder of the longer-term issues facing the UK, said Lutz Karpowitz, currency strategist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
Still, with U.S. interest rates expected to remain low, analysts said they saw little traction for the dollar, and several Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday struck a cautious note on the U.S. economic outlook. [ID:nN10315173] (Additional reporting by Nick Olivari; Editing by James Dalgleish)