U.S. dollar frail, Tokyo stocks slip, gold shines

The dollar hovered around three-year lows on Friday and looked set to come under further pressure next week, while a stronger yen weighed on Tokyo stocks in holiday-thinned Good Friday trade.

Gold hit a fresh all-time high of $1,509 an ounce, extending its record-breaking rally to a sixth session, as the weaker dollar prodded investors toward assets less reliant on the U.S. economy.

The dollar index (.DXY) was steady at 73.99 against a basket of major currencies after slipping to its lowest since mid-2008 on Thursday, weighed down by expectations that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates at record lows for some time to come and by bitter divisions in Washington over how to slash the gaping budget deficit.

Analysts said it could extend recent losses next week, with all eyes now on its record low of 70.698 struck in March 2008.

“The biggest reason behind the fall is waning investor confidence in U.S. assets. The market is waking up to the fact that fiscal problems are not limited to euro periphery countries,” said Daisuke Uno, chief strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp in Japan. ID:nL23389078]

Trade was expected to remain thin into early next week with most markets around the world closed from Friday through Easter Monday.

Japan’s Nikkei-225 share average (.N225) ended down 0.04 percent but pared initial losses after news that Renesas Electronics <6723.T.>, a major chip supplier to the auto industry, would resume operations at an earthquake-hit factory earlier than expected