A Day At The Front In The Currency Wars

As the U.S. defends the yen, J.P. Morgan's aces dive for cover

June 17 is a day that Nick Wooton, a dollar-yen trader at J.P. Morgan & Co. in London, will remember for a long time. Trading was moving along normally until about 12:45 p.m., when the bottom suddenly dropped out of the market. His trading screens showed the dollar plunging from 142 yen to 140 in 50 seconds. Most moves are only a couple of tenths of a yen. When the markets realized the U.S. had sold dollars to shore up the flagging yen, the dollar dropped another three yen, or "big figures" in trader talk. "We are surviving, but just barely," said Wooton, exhausted after a frenetic day.

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