* Firms from Friday vs euro but unchanged from Thursday level
* Australia, New Zealand and UK on holiday
* U.S. Treasury yields in focus due to auctions
By Kaori Kaneko
TOKYO, Dec 28 (Reuters) - The dollar held near recent highs against the yen on Monday, helped by demand from Japanese corporates before the year-end, with eyes on U.S. data and Treasury auctions to see if it can maintain its recent rally.
Traders in Tokyo said there was little market impact from news over the holiday weekend of an attempt to blow up a passenger plane flying to Detroit but they were keeping an eye out for further developments. [ID:nLDE5BP055]
Share markets that were open in the region, where some centres including Australia are still on holiday, rose and U.S. Treasury futures TYv1 fell to their lowest level in four months. [US/]
Monday is the last business day of the year for many Japanese companies, which resume on Jan. 4. The focus for many is whether the dollar will continue to rise next month after its rebound from a 14-year low on the yen in November.
Market participants want to find the market direction for the new year after the typical year-end dollar buying back has waned, said Akira Hoshino, chief manager at the foreign exchange trading department at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.
The dollar index .DXY, a gauge of its performance against six other major currencies, was steady at 77.693, off a 3-1/2-month high of 78.449 set last week.
The dollar was at 91.54 yen JPY=. It traded sporadically on Friday after ending around 91.50 yen on Thursday, below a two-month high of 91.88 yen set last week led as investors covered short dollar positions for the year-end.
It rose as far as 91.79 yen early in Asian trade but dealers said there were dollar sell orders just below 92 yen, and just above that level, which seemed to prevent it from gaining further.
The dollar has risen nearly 1 percent against the yen this year so far, after falling roughly 19 percent in 2008.
U.S. markets reopen later on Monday but British markets remain closed.
Traders are looking to see if U.S. Treasury yields continue to rise, with a total of $118 billion of auctions due this week. [US/O]
Other incentives this week could include Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index for October and U.S. consumer confidence for December on Tuesday. ECONUS
Market players are watching the data to see if it will add to anticipation of improvement in the December employment report due next week.
The dollar is underpinned partly by higher U.S. yields on the back of optimism over the economy following recent economic data, said Hideki Hayashi, global economist at Mizuho Securities.
But if remarks from Bernanke and the Fed minutes redirect market focus back to the prospects for the U.S. low interest rate policy, we might see a pause in the dollar's gains, he said.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is due to deliver a speech on Jan. 3 and the Fed releases minutes of its Dec. 15-16 meeting on Jan. 6.
The euro slipped slightly on the day to $1.4385 EUR=, after falling as far as $1.4218 last week, its lowest since early September. In holiday-thinned trade on Friday it climbed as high as $1.4437 on trading platform EBS.
It has gained about 3 percent on the dollar so far this year, after falling more than 4 percent in 2008. (Editing by Joseph Radford)