March 1, 2016 / 11:42 PM / 4 years ago

Dollar turns lower against euro, yen on doubts over rally's momentum

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar lost ground against the yen and was mostly flat against the euro on Wednesday, reversing earlier gains after traders took profits on skepticism that central bank policy in the United States and elsewhere would continue to diverge.

A boy walks past an exchange bureau advertisement showing images of the U.S dollar in Cairo, Egypt, Feburary 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The dollar fell to a session low of 113.23 yen after hitting a more than two-week high against the Japanese currency of 114.55 yen early in the U.S. trading session. The euro was last up slightly against the dollar at $1.0866 after hitting a more than one-month low of $1.0826 earlier.

Early in the U.S. session, data showing stronger-than-expected growth in U.S. private payrolls in February added to a recent pile of reassuring U.S. economic data and boosted expectations that the Federal Reserve would hike interest rates at least once this year.

That optimism cooled, partly on doubts that uniformly strong U.S. economic data would continue and that the European Central Bank would announce a greater stimulus package and weaken the euro at the central bank’s meeting on March 10.

“People are taking a bit of a profit after a strong ride,” said Sebastien Galy, currency strategist at Deutsche Bank in New York, in reference to the dollar’s recent gains. “Everyone knows the dollar, for good reasons, is too expensive.”

The ADP National Employment Report showed U.S. private employers added 214,000 jobs in February. That was above economists’ expectations for a gain of 190,000, according to a Reuters poll.

Uncertainty remained over the impact of low oil prices on Fed policy and China’s economic growth, leading traders to take profits in the dollar’s gains, said Sireen Harajli, currency strategist at Mizuho Bank Ltd in New York.

Harajli said uncertainty ahead of Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls report for February may have contributed to the reversal in the dollar’s rally. Economists polled by Reuters expect U.S. employers to have added 190,000 jobs last month.

The U.S. dollar index, which hit a roughly one-month high of 98.582 earlier, was last down 0.17 percent at 98.176 .DXY. The dollar was last down 0.53 percent against the yen at 113.38 yen JPY=.

The dollar was last down 0.07 percent against the Swiss franc at 0.9962 franc CHF=.

Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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