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U.S. Markets

Dollar up slightly vs euro, franc after mixed Fed messages

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rose slightly against the euro and Swiss franc on Thursday after the president of the New York Federal Reserve said the central bank was on track for a rate hike in June or July, but the greenback slipped against the safe-haven yen on risk aversion.

An employee of a bank counts US dollar notes at a branch in Hanoi, Vietnam May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kham

The euro was last down 0.12 percent against the dollar at $1.1203 after the comment from the New York Fed’s William Dudley, who also said there was a strong sense among Fed policymakers that markets were underestimating the probability of monetary policy tightening.

While the dollar gained against the euro and Swiss franc on Dudley’s remarks, it remained below multi-week highs touched earlier given comments from Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer that disappointed investors a day after minutes from the Fed’s April meeting signaled a June hike was firmly on the table.

Fischer said the United States required faster potential economic growth in order to lift the long-run equilibrium interest rate. He did not comment on the likelihood the Fed will raise interest rates again in June.

The euro earlier touched its lowest level against the dollar in more than seven weeks, at $1.1181 EUR=, on the after-effects of the Fed minutes.

“The comments from the Fed officials today were mixed and largely offsetting,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst with Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.

“June is certainly not a done deal, but with the summer clearly in play, that has allowed more upside room for the dollar.”

The dollar earlier hit a 10-week high against the Swiss franc of 0.9921 franc, but pared gains to last trade 0.16 percent higher against the franc at 0.9892 franc CHF=.

The dollar turned lower against the yen and was last down 0.26 percent against the Japanese currency, at 109.88 yen JPY=, after touching a three-week high against the yen of 110.37 yen.

Weakness in U.S. stocks and oil prices on fears over a potential June rate hike likely boosted demand for the yen, said Steven Englander, managing director and global head of G10 FX strategy at Citigroup.

The benchmark U.S. S&P 500 .SPX stock index was last down 0.67 percent, while U.S. crude prices pared losses but still settled slightly lower at $48.16 a barrel CLc1.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was last up just 0.2 percent at 95.266 .DXY. The index eased from a more than seven-week high of 95.502.

Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Dan Grebler

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