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The Associated Press August 29, 2011, 1:02PM ET

Bernanke speech weighs on dollar in thin trading

The dollar was falling against the euro in light trading Monday, following Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech last week.

Bernanke didn't offer any new plans to help the economy in his speech on Friday, but he did leave the door open for some sort of stimulus in the future. Bernanke spoke from an annual economics conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

His remarks helped increase the appetite for risk among currency investors. The three currencies that are considered safe havens, the dollar, franc and yen, were all falling Monday as investors put their money behind currencies that are considered riskier but that may be more lucrative.

In midday trading, the euro rose to $1.4507 from $1.4484 Friday. The euro rose to $1.4546 earlier in the day, its highest level since July 5. The British pound rose to $1.6396 from $1.6335.

Economic data in the U.S. was mixed. The Commerce Department said consumer spending grew by 0.8 percent in July, while incomes increased 0.3 percent, helping ease fears of another recession. Separately, the National Association of Realtors said the number of people who signed contracts to buy homes fell 1.3 percent in July, a sign that the U.S. housing market remains weak.

Currency trading was light Monday with many investors in the U.S. on vacation the week before the Labor Day holiday weekend or delayed by transportation disruptions in New York. Mass transit was resuming operation after having been shut down in advance of Tropical Storm Irene's arrival Sunday. In the United Kingdom, markets were closed Monday for a bank holiday.

In other trading Monday, the dollar rose to 76.96 Japanese yen from 76.66 Japanese yen and to 0.8175 Swiss franc from 0.8078 franc. But the dollar fell to 97.91 Canadian cents from 98.51 Canadian cents.

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