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DOLLAR MIXED AFTER TAKING A DIVE AGAINST THE YEN

The U.S. dollar settled mixed Friday in very calm trading against major foreign currencies after falling to historic depths against the Japanese yen.

"As the market limped into the weekend, currency players licked their wounds, looked a little pale and spent most of the session watching the dollar hover near its new record low against the Japanese yen," said Margaret Kudarauskas, chief foreign exchange analyst at Technical Data.The dollar plummeted to a new post-World War II intraday low of 83.65 yen during the Asian session and sank more than 1 full yen to an intraday North American trading session low of 83.73 yen.

The dollar has been losing its luster against the Japanese yen since the beginning of the year and has shed about 15 percent of its value against the surging yen since early January.

"The market brushed off the Labor Department's report on March employment, which came in slightly weaker than expected," Kudarauskas said.

The government reported non-farm payroll jobs rose 203,000 during the month after rising 345,000 in February while the civilian unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent.

Most economists were expecting non-farm payrolls to grow by 225,000 to 275,000 and were forecasting the unemployment rate to remain at 5.4 percent.

"The report, especially the slight uptick in the overall unemployment rate, represented a true weakening of the nation's employment situation," Kudarauskas said.

In late New York trading Friday, the dollar inched up to 1.3766 German marks from 1.3750 marks Thursday but plunged to 83.75 Japanese yen from 85.29 yen.

In Asia, the dollar sank in Tokyo to 84.20 Japanese yen from 85.42 yen Thursday despite continuous intervention by the Bank of Japan.

Currency experts in Tokyo noted strong dollar-selling pressure virtually wiped out effects of the central bank intervention. Some traders even forecasted the dollar's further tailspin.