had the currency markets in mind when he wrote of "giddy fortune's furious fickle wheel" as once again directions have reversed and investor sentiment looks to have shifted.
The dollar, having been on a value-grabbing rampage in the past week, sprinting to new 22-month highs vs. the yen and three-month highs against the euro, is slipping back a bit today, as the dollar's status as a safe refuge is lost to rising equity markets and increasing hopes for economic stimuli.
stock index closed up 2.8% and the European stock markets were amidst a hearty rebound after yesterday's sell-off. With the U.S. stock market futures poised to open today with a rally, the 'safe haven' appeal that the dollar had picked up in the last few days as investors ran from the equity markets is losing its luster.
What made the dollar really attractive though ahead of other currencies, was the fact that the
Fed has already cut interest rates by 150 basis points in three months, an obviously concerted effort to stimulate the rapidly slowing economy. While domestic investors have complained openly that
Greenspan's efforts may not be enough to reverse the direction of economic growth here, foreign currency speculators feel that it is at least a much stronger effort than any shown by governments of other weakening economies.
The recent push of the dollar well ahead of the euro has been largely based on the dismay of investors at the
European Central Bank
to attempt to revitalize their own slowing economy. But with talk overnight raising hopes for an interest rate cut by the ECB, the euro has turned and is making gains today on the dollar. Still, most traders believe that a rate cut at the ECB's meeting next week is highly unlikely, and are leaning more toward a cut next month.
The euro was most recently trading for $0.8924, up a bit from yesterday's close at $0.8881.The euro has tumbled almost four and a half cents in the last two weeks.
The yen has been falling much faster and further than the euro in recent weeks, as the Japanese economy struggles to hold its head above water. The combination of economic and political woes in Japan have been prolonged and unattended, up until the
Bank of Japan
announced a radical monetary policy shift on Monday in an attempt to rejuvenate their soured economy.
, whose appeal is fading by the day as he postpones an almost inevitable step-down from office, commented this morning that the government is not looking to weaken the yen to boost exports. This, combined with the strong showing in the Nikkei, pushed the yen up against the dollar this morning.
The dollar was trading recently for 122.92 yen per dollar, down from its last close Thursday of 123.53 yen.
Throughout the massive movements of late in dollar/yen and euro/dollars, trading between the euro and yen has remained in a very tight range with little net gains or losses. As this continues today, the euro is trading up just marginally on the yen, recently trading for 109.69 yen per euro, barely off from yesterday's close of 109.61 yen.
News remains scant out of the rest of the forex markets in a quiet session. The British pound is up slightly on the dollar, recently trading at $1.4258, having closed yesterday at $1.4211.
The dollar is also losing today to the Canadian dollar, which hit two-and a half year lows against its U.S. counterpart repeatedly in the past week. The U.S. dollar was most recently trading at C$1.5648, down a little over half a Canadian cent from C$1.5710 yesterday.
The Australian dollar, wallowing in its own misery, continues to set new all-time lows against the U.S. dollar. Despite comments yesterday from the Australian Treasurer
claiming that the country's economic fundamentals do not reflect the large devaluation of its currency, the Aussie buck continues to slip today. The Aussie dollar was trading most recently for $0.4926, down just slightly from $0.4936 at last close.