* U.S. dollar breaks through 100 yen
* Gold off 1 pct as U.S. data, strong dollar weigh
* Oil dips on ample supplies
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, May 9 The U.S. dollar rose to its
highest against the yen in over four years on Thursday, blasting
through the 100-yen level, while shares in major markets slipped
from recent record levels.
Investors sold the low-yielding yen as ongoing support from
central banks around the world continues to push cash into
higher-yielding assets. U.S. stocks fell slightly after recent
gains from a rally that has taken the S&P 500 to record closing
highs for five straight sessions.
The dollar got support from data showing applications for
unemployment insurance in the United States fell to the lowest
level in more than five years in the latest week.
"A stampede out of safety and brightening U.S. job prospects
helped catapult the dollar over the key triple-digit threshold
against the yen," Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western
Union Business Solutions in Washington, said in a note.
The yen is on track to post its eighth straight month of
declines against the greenback, shedding more than 30 percent
since its September high near 77. A mega-stimulus program
unleashed by the Bank of Japan last month has helped continue
the weakening trend in the Japanese currency.
U.S. stocks slipped but the recent uptrend remains intact.
"We've had such a consistent upward move that investors need
some real new news to keep the momentum going," said Rick
Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management
LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"The jobless claims were a good number, but not enough of
'new news.' Investors want to see something that shows a good
pickup in economic activity."
Pull-backs have been short and shallow despite recurring
calls for a correction in U.S. equities. Globally, the
expectation of continued accommodative monetary policy from
central banks has maintained support for stocks.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 23.66
points, or 0.16 percent, at 15,081.46. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 5.59 points, or 0.34 percent, at 1,627.10.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.16 points, or 0.03
percent, at 3,412.11.
The euro zone's Euro STOXX 50 index dropped 0.4
percent, retreating from a near two-year high but finding
support at an upward trendline from lows hit on April 18. The
pan-European FTSEurofirst closed flat to stay near
The MSCI world index, which tracks stocks in
45 countries, was down 0.8 percent after earlier hitting its
highest level since June 2008.
GREENBACK RISES BROADLY
The U.S. currency strengthened across the board, with the
dollar index up 1 percent and above its 14- and 50- day
The euro was trading down 0.9 percent at $1.3024
after earlier hitting a high of $1.3177.
The euro was also pressured by slightly softer-than-expected
demand at a Spanish debt auction, while Spanish government bond
Oil prices dipped on a combination of weaker demand and
U.S. oil lost 69 cents to $95.93 while Brent crude
fell 26 cents to $104.08 per barrel. The benchmark has
slipped from a one-month high of $105.94 touched on Tuesday
after Israeli air strikes on Syria over the weekend stoked
"There's too much crude oil production in the world, and
when traders become worried about that, they end up selling,"
said Tim Evans, energy specialist at Citi Futures Perspective.
Saudi Arabia increased crude oil output by 160,000 barrels
per day to 9.3 million bpd in April, industry sources said this
week, adding to an already well-supplied global market.
Spanish bond yields rose on speculation Madrid may be
planning another bond sale after borrowing costs fell at
Thursday's auction of just over 4.5 billion euros of new debt.
The country's 10-year bond yields were 8 basis points higher
at 4.19 percent, having moved away from the 2-1/2
year lows of 3.95 percent touched last week when the ECB cut
rates and said it would consider further policy easing.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield
was above 1.8 percent for the first time in almost a month.
Gold prices fell after the strong U.S. jobs data, with
dollar strength weakening the price further. Spot gold
was down 1 percent to $1,458.06. The metal gained 1.4 percent in
the previous session, its biggest one-day rise in two weeks.