* FX market lacks clear direction until US jobs report on Fri
* Aussie hits 3-week high vs dollar, 2-year peak vs euro
By Rika Otsuka
TOKYO, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The dollar steadied on Tuesday, keeping broad losses made the previous day, as growing hopes for a global economic recovery encouraged investors to shift funds to riskier assets from the greenback.
The dollar was also under pressure from fund mangers trying to rebuild their portfolios at the start of the year by buying stocks, commodities and higher-yielding currencies.
The Australian dollar hit a two-year high against the euro and a three-week high versus the dollar as investors picked up commodity-linked currencies on buoyant gold and oil prices. [O/R] [GOL/]
Investors are seeking more risks thanks to better economic conditions, said Tsutomu Soma, senior manager of the foreign securities department at Okasan Securities.
But whether risk-taking moves will carry on depends on U.S. jobs data due on Jan. 8, Soma said. Investors feel they need to have the employment data to confirm the U.S. economy is improving solidly.
The median forecast of analysts polled by Reuters on the U.S. Labor Department's monthly payrolls report for December is for a decline of 8,000. However, the predictions ranged widely, from a loss of 80,000 jobs to an increase of 59,000. [ECI/US]
The dollar index, a gauge of the U.S. currency's performance against six other major currencies, was down 0.1 percent to 77.458 .DXY.
The euro was little changed from late U.S. trade at $1.4414 after advancing 0.6 percent the previous day.
Risk appetite grew on Monday after data showed Chinese manufacturing increased at its fastest pace on record in December, while U.S. factories marked their best month in nearly four years, boosting confidence in the global economy. [ID:nSGE60301H]
For much of the past year, expectations that U.S. interest rates would stay low for a long time spurred investors to sell the greenback to purchase riskier and high-yielding assets.
But that pattern was interrupted in December on position-closing before the year-end, and as signs of an improving U.S. economy prompted some to believe the Federal Reserve could start to tighten monetary policy in 2010.
Speculators increased bets the U.S. currency has room to rise by going long the dollar for a second straight week to Dec. 29, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Monday.
The value of the dollar's net long position was around $4.76 billion, a big jump from a net long position of $700 million in the prior week, according to Reuters calculations. [ID:nN04195958]
The dollar slipped 0.3 percent against the yen to 92.26 yen, having fallen from a four-month peak of 93.22 yen hit on trading platform EBS on Monday.
Traders were eyeing whether the dollar could rise back above 92.80 yen -- right around a 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the dollar's fall from its high in August of 97.79 yen down to a 14-year trough of 84.82 yen hit in November. A rise above 92.80 yen could prompt a rally to 95 yen to the dollar, traders said.
The Australian dollar rose as far as $0.9164, its highest since Dec. 15, according to Reuters data. It then eased back to $0.9129, down 0.1 percent from late U.S. trade.
Against the euro, the Australian dollar climbed to a two-year high of 0.6346 euros AUDEUR=R.
Given a rise in commodities, higher equities and the Australian dollar's yield advantage over other currencies, investors feel comfortable about buying the currency, said Yasutoshi Nagai, chief economist at Daiwa Securities Capital Markets.
The Aussie's rise has further to go, Nagai continued. Some even say the currency is likely to achieve parity with the U.S. dollar in the long term. (Editing by Joseph Radford)