Posted: 01 July 2009 0607 hrs

A currency exchange worker holds a handful of euro notes in London.

NEW YORK: The US dollar gained against its main rivals on Tuesday as financial market jitters stemming from weak economic data sent investors flocking to the world's main safe-haven currency.

The euro dipped to 1.4032 dollars at 2100 GMT compared to 1.4088 dollars late on Monday.

The dollar meanwhile rose to 96.30 yen compared to 96.04 yen on Monday.

The Conference Board, a business research group, said US consumer confidence sank in June as households worried about the prolonged recession and vanishing jobs.

The index retreated to 49.3 points in June from a revised 54.8 in May, an eight-month high.

Most analysts expected a much stronger reading of 55.3 points in the 100-point index.

As a result of the disappointing data, dealers on currency markets moved away from currencies considered risky like the euro and bought up ones seen as safer like the dollar, the yen and the Swiss franc, analysts said.

Stocks fell and the dollar rose on the report, which dented hopes for a quick recovery from the recession.

The data showed Americans appear to be having a harder time finding employment, said David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff.

This "portends yet another month of rising unemployment when Thursday's data roll out," he added.

Some said the dollar benefited from inflows ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend, which begins on Friday.

"Judging from the price action, it appears that the consumer confidence report provided players with an opportunity to take profit on short dollar positions as the greenback had clearly become oversold amidst illiquid, pre-holiday trading conditions," said Michael Woolfolk at Bank of New York Mellon.

Investors were also awaiting new reports from the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday and the release of US monthly employment data the same day.

The ECB is expected to keep interest rates at a record low of 1.0 percent despite an appeal from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to lower the main rate even further to nearly zero.

In late New York trade, the dollar stood at 1.0858 Swiss francs after 1.0823 on Monday.

The pound was at 1.6459 dollars after 1.6568. - AFP/de

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