The euro gained ground vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.5095 level and was supported around the $1.4955 level.  The common currency reached its highest level since August as traders continued to speculate that global monetary authorities will not back up their dollar-supportive verbal intervention with actual dollar-buying intervention.  The Federal Open Market Committee yesterday released minutes from its 3-4 November policy-setting meeting.  The minutes revealed policymakers believe the maintenance of low rates could prompt excessive risk-taking or an unanchoring of inflation expectations.  Additionally, Fed policymakers noted further dollar depreciation could put significant upward pressure on inflation and bear close watching.  Fed Chairman Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Geithner, and European Central Bank President Trichet have also recently verbally intervened to support the U.S. dollar.  The continued release of decent U.S. economic data also worked against the greenback as traders speculated the global economic recovery will continue.  Data released in the U.S. today saw October personal income print at +0.2%, unchanged from September's revised print, while October personal spending climbed +0.7%, a sharp reversal from September's revised reading of -0.6%.  October core personal consumption expenditures were up 0.2% m/m and 1.4% y/y and the October PCE deflator was up 0.2% y/y.  Additionally, October durable goods orders fell 0.6% from a revised +2.0% in September while the ex-transportation component was off 1.3% , down from a revised +1.8% in September.  Other data saw weekly initial jobless claims decline to 466,000 while continuing claims moved lower to 5.423 million.  Moreover, October new home sales printed at an annualized 430,000, up from a revised 405,000 in September - a +6.2% m/m climb.  Finally, the final November University of Michigan consumer sentiment indicator printed at 67.4, up from the prior reading of 66.0.  With the exception of durable goods orders, today's data evidenced a U.S. economy that remains positively on the mend, especially with regard to the U.S. housing market.  In eurozone news, German GfK December consumer confidence fell to 3.7 from 4.0 in November.  Reserve Bank of Australia Deputy Governor Battellino talked up global economic sentiment, reporting With the economy having only recently entered a new upswing, it is reasonable to assume that we will see this growth extended for a few more years yet.  Russia's central bank today said it will diversify its currency holdings by adding Canadian dollars, probably at the expense of the U.S. dollar.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4720 level.