NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar rose against the euro and yen on Friday after data showed U.S. employment grew faster than expected in November, but the less encouraging details limited gains.
The dollar had soared to session peaks immediately after the release of the data as the stronger-than-expected headline number fueled speculation that the Federal Reserve could opt for a smaller stimulus program next week.
But the momentum faded as traders scrutinized the details. While nonfarm employment increased by 146,000 jobs last month, job growth for previous months was revised lower and a drop in the jobless rate to a near four-year low was because people gave up the search for work.
"The big takeaway is that the Sandy did not have the impact, the negative effect that people thought it would have," said Jacob Oubina, senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.
"While this was dramatically better than feared, it also was not a breakout of the trend," he said. "This should have no impact on Fed policy and the central bank should remain on cruise control and continue with the (quantitative easing) program into the new year."
The Fed begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday in which policymakers are expected to maintain support for the tentative U.S. economic recovery by ramping up one bond-buying program to offset the expiration of another.
"The real question, though, is whether this changes the Fed's attitude toward more stimulus. It doesn't remove the need for stimulus but might convince the Fed to opt for a smaller program," said Kathy Lien, managing director of BK Asset Management in New York.
Quantitative easing, or QE, is viewed as negative for the dollar because it equates to printing money, which lowers U.S. bond yields and diminishes the appeal of holding dollar-denominated assets.
The euro fell to a session low of $1.2878 on Reuters data, matching the low set on November 28. It was last down 0.5 percent at $1.2907.
Adding to pressure on the euro were comments from European Central Bank policymaker Jozef Makuch, who said the bank may cut interest rates next year if the euro zone economy does not improve.
The drop came as Germany's central bank said it expected Europe's largest economy to grow just 0.4 percent in 2013, and pointed to risks of a recession as the euro zone debt crisis takes its toll.
The euro zone common currency had lost 0.8 percent against the dollar on Thursday after ECB President Mario Draghi said policymakers had discussed cutting borrowing costs and slashed growth and inflation forecasts for the euro zone.
The dollar rallied to 82.82 yen on Reuters data, matching a near eight-month high set on November 22. It was last at 82.67 yen, up 0.3 percent on the day.
The yen briefly rose against the euro and dollar after news of an earthquake in Japan. A far more powerful earthquake in March 2011 led to a sharp rise in the yen on expectations Japanese investors would repatriate funds held abroad back home.
(Additional reporting by Steven C. Johnson, Nick Olivari and Julie Haviv; Editing by Kenneth Barry)
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