* Safe-haven bids on yen unwound on hopes for Ukraine
* U.S jobless claims, Philadelphia Fed survey point to
* Euro capped as ECB officials warn against its strength
* Many markets closed on Friday for Easter holiday
By Hideyuki Sano
TOKYO, April 18 The yen slipped to 10-day lows
against the dollar on Friday after speculators unwound some
safe-haven trades following upbeat U.S. economic data and on
hopes for a diplomatic initiative seeking an end to violence in
The dollar traded at 102.43 yen, and has ticked up in
the past five sessions from a three-week low of 101.32 yen.
Worries about tensions in the Ukraine, which have prompted
some safe-haven buying of the yen, eased somewhat on Thursday
after the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union
called for an immediate halt to violence.
Further, U.S. data pointed to activity regaining momentum
after disruptions due to harsh winter weather.
New claims for jobless benefits hovered near their
pre-recession levels last week and manufacturing in the
Mid-Atlantic region accelerated in April.
"There are signs of a pick-up in the U.S. economy markets
have been long waiting for," said Shinichiro Kadota, chief forex
strategist at Barclays Bank in Tokyo.
Trading is expected to be subdued on Friday, as many centres
are closed for Easter, though Tokyo markets are open.
The dollar has risen above the 38.2 percent retracement of
its fall from its April peak of 104.13 yen, with next resistance
seen at the 50 percent retracement of 102.73 yen.
The euro was at $1.3815, little changed over the past
few sessions. It hit a 2-1/2 year high near $1.40 last month,
and since then European Central Bank officials have tried to
talk it down given concerns that a strong currency could derail
the euro zone's fragile economic recovery.
The latest was Executive Board member Yves Mersch, who said
a sustained appreciation in the euro would inevitably trigger a
reaction from the ECB.
Last weekend, ECB President Mario Draghi identified the
euro's strength as a possible trigger for easing policy.
Sterling hit 4 1/2-year high of $1.6842 on Thursday
before easing back to $1.6781. Against the euro, the pound stood
at 82.27 percent to the euro, near a six-week high of 82.15
hit on Thursday.
(Editing by John Mair)