FOREX-Dollar rises vs yen as jobless data boosts optimism

–(– 01/01/2010 – International industry news provided by Financial News USA. Financial markets in Asia, Europe and the U.S. will be closed on Friday, Jan. 1, for the New Year holiday. Full coverage of global foreign exchange markets [FRX/] will resume out of Tokyo on Monday, Jan. 4. * Jobless claims data boosts hopes for U.S. recovery (Updates prices, adds detail about jobs data, comment) NEW YORK, Dec 31 (Reuters) – The dollar hit a 3-1/2-month peak against the yen on Thursday after data showed initial applications for U.S. jobless benefits fell to their lowest level since mid-2008, lifting optimism about the U.S. economy. The greenback also erased earlier losses against the euro and was headed for its best month against a basket of major currencies since January .DXY on the view that recent strong economic data is a harbinger of strong growth next year and may prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than expected. [Read the full article]

Turkish bonds and the lira rallied on Thursday and shares hit a high for the year after a newspaper reported the International Monetary Fund had agreed to Turkey’s conditions for a standby loan accord. But market gains eased after comments from an IMF spokeswoman in Washington raised caution over how far negotiations had advanced. The IMF said it could send a mission to Turkey promptly if asked to negotiate a loan and that it thoroughly discussed policies it could support. The Turkish lira IYIX= ended 1.4 percent firmer at 1.4920 to the dollar on the interbank market from 1.5125 on Wednesday. It weakened after the close to 1.4975 in Monday-dated trading, with the market shut on Friday. The lira has advanced 2.6 percent since the end of 2008. [Read the full article]

* Woods’ marketable value seen diminished by sex scandal (Adds details of Woods’ recent troubles, background on other sponsors, adds comment by expert on financial fallout from scandal) NEW YORK, Dec 31 (Reuters) – AT&T Inc (T.N) said on Thursday it was terminating its sponsorship agreement with Tiger Woods, joining the list of companies that have distanced themselves from the top golfer in the wake of a sex scandal. The U.S. telecommunications company is the latest corporate sponsor to back away from the world’s first billionaire athlete since he became engulfed in allegations of multiple extramarital affairs following a mysterious minor car accident outside his Florida home on Nov. 27. [Read the full article]

U.S. President Barack Obama faces a long list of challenges as he returns from his Hawaiian holiday and begins the new year. Here are some questions and answers about Obama’s agenda as he nears the end of his first year in office. Obama’s top priority is to cut 26-year high unemployment. He is expected to push hard on this in January, after a jobs summit and banker meetings in December. Growth resumed in the third quarter after the worst recession in 70 years, but job creation has lagged, hurting his popularity and dimming the prospects for his Democratic Party, which faces midterm congressional elections in November. On top of a $787 billion emergency spending bill Obama signed in February, the House of Representatives approved a $155 billion jobs bill on Dec. 16, which the Senate is expected to consider in early 2010. The U.S. [Read the full article] About Financial News USA

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