Euro Spurts Higher against Dollar

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The euro shot higher to strike a six-month dollar high on Tuesday as the single European currency benefited from rising concerns across the Atlantic.

Equity markets were mixed, but both the FTSE in London and the tech-rich Nasdaq in the U.S. finished at records.

The euro extended gains to break above $1.10 -- reaching a six-month high -- as the dollar wobbled following a series of below-par economic results out of the United States, including on inflation.

Analysts said the greenback was also being weighed down by yet another controversy involving President Donald Trump, this time over allegations that he divulged highly classified intelligence to Russian diplomats in the Oval Office.

"The euro is strengthening as political concerns in Europe ease, while the dollar is being sold" after the weak economic data, Marito Ueda, a senior dealer at FX Prime, told AFP.

Omer Esiner, an analyst at Commonwealth FX, called the Trump intelligence disclosures "another potential scandal that undermines already low expectations for a bold fiscal stimulus package from Washington."

The European single currency hit $1.1089 on Tuesday -- the highest point since November 9.

Meanwhile, updated data confirmed that the eurozone economy grew by 0.5 percent at the start of the year, after growing 1.7 percent last year.

Moreover, with the election of centrist Emmanuel Macron as president in France, concerns about the EU unraveling have dissipated, while Trump's administration has stumbled from one controversy to another.

"Since currencies are always a play on the relative strengths of two economies, the rising threat of political fallout in the U.S. under Donald Trump is another boon for the euro," said market analyst Jasper Lawler at London Capital Group.

- FTSE breaks 7,500 -

In equities action, London's benchmark FTSE 100 broke through the 7,500-points level for the first time to a new record high of 7,533.70 points. It finished the day with a gain of 0.9 percent at a record close of 7,522.03 points.

"Another day, another record high for the FTSE 100," said Kathleen Brooks from City Index. 

Vodafone was the top performer, gaining nearly 4.0 percent, despite registering a 6.1-billion-euros ($6.9-billion) annual loss, as traders focused on the increased dividend and optimistic outlook for next year.

But eurozone equity markets fared less well. After striking a new record high of 12,841.66 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index ended the day down a hair. In Paris, the CAC 40 slid 0.2 percent.

U.S. stocks finished mixed, with the Nasdaq rising 0.3 percent to finish at a record for the second straight day. But both the Dow and S&P 500 finished slightly lower.

Still, U.S. stocks held up reasonably well in spite of the latest Trump headlines.

"The stock market continues to be resilient to selling interest no matter the headlines -- foreign or domestic -- even if it is not getting all that far these days on buying interest," said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

- Key figures around 2100 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 20,979.75 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.1 percent at 2,400.67 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.3 percent at 6,169.87 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.9 percent at 7,522.03 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 12,804.53 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 5,406.10 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,641.36

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 19,919.82 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 25,335.94 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.7 percent at 3,112.96 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1084 from $1.0977 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 113.07 yen from 113.75 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2918 from $1.2897

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 17 cents at $51.65 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 19 cents at $48.66 per barrel

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