The euro appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.5015 level and was supported around the $1.4880 level.  Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke spoke today and said headwinds of reduced bank lending and a weaker labour market will restrain the pace of economic growth in the U.S. economy.  Bernanke also verbally intervened to support the U.S. dollar, saying the Fed is attentive to its value and will help ensure that the dollar is strong.  Bernanke also reiterated U.S. interest rates will remain low for an extended period.  Most dealers believe rates will remain unchanged well into the middle of 2010.  It is unlikely that Bernanke's verbal intervention will lead to a volte face and sustainable reversal of the U.S. dollar's recent weakness.  Dallas Fed President Fisher said the U.S. dollar's depreciation has been gradual.  Data released in the U.S. today saw October retail sales climb 1.4%, more-than-anticipated and stronger than the revised -2.3% print for September.  The ex-autos component was up 0.2%, worse-than-expected and down from the revised +0.4% print in September.  Also, the November Empire State manufacturing index fell to 23.51 to 34.57 in October while September business inventories were off 0.4%, up from a revised -1.6% in August.  In eurozone news, European Central Bank member Quaden reported short-term measures have to be unwound at the right time and place, the latest indication the ECB is in no hurry to change monetary policy at this time.  Data released in the eurozone today saw EMU-16 October consumer prices up 0.2% m/m after remaining unchanged in September, and were off 0.1% y/y in October - the fifth consecutive annual decline.  ECB member Weber spoke today and said stabilization is not recovery...
Even if the banking sector is looking more solid since the stabilization of the financial markets, there are still challenges ahead which should not be underestimated.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4445 level.