Updated from March 31 To an unusual extent, currencies are the linchpin on which financial markets will most likely turn in the coming weeks. The keys to foreign exchange rates, in turn, are three major events in coming days: an ECB decision on rates, a big-business sentiment survey in Japan, and the U.S. employment report for March. Any one could have serious ramifications for the greenback; collectively, they almost assuredly will. Forecasting is always dicey, but one potential outcome of the "big three" events features near-term strength in the dollar, probably leading to corresponding strength in equities and weakness in commodity prices. ECB Meet & Greet: The European Central Bank meets Thursday. Dovish comments from ECB officials, including President Jean-Claude Trichet, in the wake of weak German business confidence have raised expectations for a rate cut. Be it by 25 or 50 basis points, a European ease would reduce the current 100-basis-point yield differential between the ECB's key lending rate and the Federal Reserve's fed funds rate. That, in turn, would likely put downward pressure on the euro vs. the dollar, which boasts a stronger domestic economic backdrop. In anticipation of a potential ECB rate cute, the euro has fallen from its Feb. 18 high of $1.2826 to $1.2172 late Tuesday. In recent days, expectations for an ECB rate cut have declined. But at a minimum, Europe's central bankers will "try to keep expectations alive for an eventual rate cut" in their statements, which "would keep the euro under pressure," predicts Ashraf Laidi, chief currency analyst at MG Financial Group. On Thursday, the ECB did leave rates unchanged. More surprisingly, ECB President Trichet downplayed hopes of an ease anytime soon. "On balance, there is currently no evidence challenging the assessment of continued, though modest, real GDP growth over the short term," he said at a news conference. The euro was recently up slightly to $1.2342 vs. $1.2303 late Wednesday, but stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data mitigated the euro's rise. Japan's Tankan Survey: This key sentiment index for big Japanese manufacturers is also due Thursday. A similar survey of small Japanese businesses released Tuesday was stronger than expected, boosting hopes for an upbeat March Tankan survey. If the Tankan survey is strong, traders will most likely rush to buy yen and sell dollars. The greenback has already fallen about 6.5% vs. the yen since early March amid speculation the Bank of Japan will reduce intervention aimed at helping the dollar; overnight Tuesday, the dollar tumbled below 105 yen, its lowest level since June 2000. Thursday's Tankan survey was indeed stronger than expected, rising to its highest level since 1997; recently the dollar was trading at 103.77 yen, down from 104.36 late Wednesday.