CURRENCIES: Dollar Falls As Trump Worries Grow; Yen Spikes 0.8%

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Strategist: The buck is 'trading badly on all Trump-negative news'

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The dollar fell against its major rivals Wednesday, extending its recent weakness amid escalating U.S. political concerns following a report that President Donald Trump tried to influence an FBI probe into links between his inner circle and Russia.

The ICE Dollar Index declined 0.2% to 98.05, down from 98.11 late Tuesday and touching levels last seen Nov. 9, the day after Election Day. That comes after the gauge lost 0.8% on Tuesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-slides-to-6-month-low-as-worries-about-trump-return-2017-05-16) after reports Trump shared classified information with Russia. Over the past month, the index has dropped 2.4%.

The buck "is trading badly on all Trump-negative news, though there is arguably a limit to how far that can run," said Elsa Lignos, global head of foreign-exchange strategy at RBC Capital Markets, in a note.

The president in February asked then-Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey to shut down an investigation (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-asked-comey-to-drop-flynn-investigation-report-2017-05-16) into the actions of former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn a day after Flynn's ouster, according to a New York Times report Tuesday. The White House on Tuesday denied the report, while the Times said Comey wrote memos after every meeting and phone call with Trump to provide a paper trail of his attempts to influence the Federal Bureau of Investigation's probe.

The euro changed hands at $1.1118, up from $1.1085 late Tuesday in New York, a rise of 0.3%.

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"For now it is mainly playing out with a build-up of [euro] longs," Lignos added, noting that European political risk has dissipated while U.S. political risk is rising.

In April, centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron won the French election, beating out a far-right candidate who had proposed withdrawing France from the eurozone, a move that had been expected to be wildly destabilizing for the region. The election, a notable defeat for a populist movement following Trump's election and the United Kingdom's vote to leave the EU, was seen as removing a key headwind to global markets.

See also:In emerging markets, you can have your cake and eat it, too: BlackRock (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/in-emerging-markets-you-can-have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too-blackrock-2017-05-01)

The Japanese yen --which often draws haven demand when geopolitical worries flare up--was gaining in particular against the dollar. The greenback was trading at Yen112.19, down 0.8% from Yen113.11 late Tuesday in New York. Over the past month, the yen has surged 3% against the dollar.

The pound was buying $1.2968, up 0.4% from $1.2915.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 17, 2017 09:04 ET (13:04 GMT)