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Euro up slightly to $1.3974 in European trade

Euro up slightly to $1.3974 in European trade

The euro rose slightly against the dollar Friday after falling below the $1.40 level for the first time in six months as investors sought safety in the American currency following disappointing economic reports and fears about Greece's debt.
The 16-nation euro bought $1.3974 in European morning trade, up from Thursday's low of $1.3938, the euro's weakest level since July 2009.
The British pound rose to $1.6166 from $1.6127 late Thursday in New York, while the dollar was also higher against the Japanese yen at 90.16 from 89.90 yen.
On Thursday, the U.S. government said orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose a meager 0.3 percent in December, while a drop in the number of newly unemployed people filing for jobless benefits fell short of expectations. The disappointing reports compounded uncertainty about how strong the U.S. economy is.
Germany, meanwhile, reported Thursday that January unemployment rose to 8.6 percent from 7.8 percent in December. The government said 3.617 million people are out of work and it expects an average of 3.74 million unemployed for the year.
That added to ongoing worries about the public debt of countries such as Greece and Portugal.
"The euro has continued to decline against a basket of currencies, hitting its lowest level since April last year, as investors fret about the ability of Greece to implement the measures required to cut its deficit," Michael Hewson at CMC Markets said.
"These factors combined with weakening economic fundamentals across the globe, and the imminent removal of some stimulus measures by the Federal Reserve, has fueled concern that the scope for further stimulus measures from the various central banks is growing limited on the basis of affordability," Hewson said.