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Forex - Dollar mixed vs. rivals as French fears weigh on euro

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Forexpros - The U.S. dollar was mixed against its major counterparts on Thursday, as growing concerns that the euro zone's debt crisis could spill over to the region's banking sector weighed on sentiment and sent the euro lower.

During European afternoon trade, the greenback was up against the euro, with EUR/USD shedding 0.22% to hit 1.4145.

European equities were significantly off their earlier highs, as shares in major French lenders erased gains, to trade sharply lower. Societe Generale, which at one point saw shares trade 5.5% higher, tumbled 8%.

Rivals BNP Paribas saw shares drop 5.5%, amid speculation the lender was facing another EUR496 million of losses on Greece, while Credit Agricole surrendered a 6.5% gain to trade down 2.1%.

But the greenback was lower against the pound, with GBP/USD easing up 0.12% to hit 1.6154.

Later in the day, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was to address parliament, following the recent turmoil in financial markets and the Bank of England's downgrade of its U.K. growth forecast on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the greenback was also down against the yen, with USD/JPY falling 0.37% to hit 76.57. The dollar spiked higher against the yen earlier before falling back, sparking speculation that the Bank of Japan stepped in to curb the yen's recent sharp gains.

However, an official from the country's Ministry of Finance declined to comment on the sudden movement in the pair and whether the government was intervening in the market.

Elsewhere, the greenback extended sharp gains against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF soaring 1.95% to hit 0.7408, after comments from Swiss National Bank Vice President Thomas Jordan fuelled speculation the central bank would introduce further measures to weaken the currency.

Meanwhile, the risk-sensitive Canadian, Australian and New Zealand dollars pared earlier gains against their U.S. counterpart, with USD/CAD dipping 0.03% to hit 0.9947, AUD/USD gaining 0.21% to hit 1.0199 and NZD/USD adding 0.55% to hit 0.8157.

Australia's Bureau of Statistics said earlier that the country's unemployment rate rose unexpectedly to 5.1% in July from 4.9% in June, the first increase since October.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.23% to hit 75.03.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release official data on its trade balance, as well as a government report on initial jobless claims and natural gas stockpiles.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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