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Franc Gains as U.S., Europe Concern Spurs Refuge Bid; Yen Rises

Dollar Gains
A U.S. one hundred dollar bill is displayed for a photograph with other U.S. notes in New York, U.S. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

The Swiss franc gained versus all of its most-traded counterparts as concern the euro-area debt crisis is getting worse and the U.S. economy may falter boosted demand for a refuge.

The dollar slipped versus a basket of major U.S. trading partners as U.S. durable-goods orders rose more than forecast, briefly spurring risk appetite. The euro fell against the franc as German business confidence dropped to the lowest in more than a year. The yen rose toward a postwar high versus the dollar as Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced a $100 billion effort to help businesses cope with strength in the currency, reducing speculation Japan will intervene to curb gains.

“If you look at where to put your safe-haven flows, there really isn’t any place better than the Swiss franc,” said Elizabeth Gregory, market strategist at Swissquote Bank SA in Geneva.

The Swiss franc appreciated 0.4 percent to 78.93 centimes versus the greenback at 9:14 a.m. in New York, from 79.23 yesterday. The currency advanced for the first time in three days against the euro, gaining 0.4 percent to 1.1399. The yen appreciated 0.2 percent to 76.52 per dollar.

The Dollar Index, which IntercontinentalExchange Inc. uses to track the greenback against six counterparts, slipped 0.1 percent.

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures fell 0.2 percent after stocks rallied yesterday. Gold traded at almost a record high before Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke speaks at an economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Aug. 26 amid speculation the central bank will undertake additional stimulus that may debase the currency.

“The markets are focused on Bernanke’s speech,” said Junichi Ishikawa, a market analyst at IG Markets Securities Ltd. in Tokyo. “Monetary easing by the Fed will lower U.S. yields, and that will put the dollar under downward pressure broadly.”

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