The dollar fell broadly Friday in a volatile session, marked by rumors of possible new allegations against President Clinton airing this weekend on television.
The dollar also fell against the Japanese yen because of a report that an extensive economic stimulus package was being prepared to aid Japan's sickly economy.Rumors swirling in the market included those about the illness of Russian President Boris Yeltsin and a radio report that the Greek drachma would be devalued by as much as 12 percent.
"Trading in the currencies has been relatively muted," said Kathleen Stephansen, senior economist at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp. "That's why the currency markets reacted" to reports of new sexual allegations against Clinton. "There was no other news to trade on."
In late New York trading, the dollar was quoted at 128.15 yen, down from 129.32 yen late Thursday. The U.S. currency also was quoted at 1.8185 marks, down from 1.8272.
In early New York trading, the dollar rose against the mark on suspicions that Yeltsin was in worse health than the cold the Kremlin said caused the Russian president to cancel his Friday agenda. The dollar then fell on rumors of new Clinton allegations.
"It's an interesting dynamic that relates more to the loss of confidence in the leadership in the U.S. than (economic) fundamentals," Stephansen said.
In the early afternoon, the dollar fell again after a Greek radio station reported the nation's currency would be devalued as part of the government's efforts to bring it into the European Union's currency arrangement. The EU scheduled a meeting Saturday to discuss Greece's request. Government officials would not comment on the report.
During Asian trading, Tokyo's main stock index soared 2.93 percent and the dollar fell against the yen after a Japanese newspaper reported the government intends to invigorate the stock market with $10.11 billion in public funds.
The dollar's fall against the mark should have pushed the U.S. currency lower against the Japanese currency, But "people are really unwilling to load up on yen. The (Japanese economic) fundamentals remain relatively weak," Stephansen said.