The dollar soared nearly 2 yen Friday following Japan's third-largest corporate failure but slipped against the German mark and other major world currencies.

The Mexican peso fell to a new low against the dollar for a second straight day amid a decline in worldwide financial markets, including selloffs in Latin America.Venezuela's central bank said it would permit a wider trading-range for its currency, the bolivar, sparking devaluation rumors for the second day. The government intervened heavily, allowing the bolivar to end just slightly weaker vs. the dollar.

In volatile trading, the dollar fell against the German mark as rumors circulated that the U.S. Federal Reserve was holding an emergency meeting, which the Fed later denied.

But Hillel Waxman, chief foreign exchange dealer at Bank Leumi Trust, said the dollar was stable compared with swings in other financial markets, boosted in part by investors' flight to safety to U.S. Treasury bonds.

"The dollar . . . remained well bid as a consequence of the economic malaise that hit the world," Waxman said.

In late New York trading, the dollar was quoted at 144.91 yen, up from 143.19 late Thursday. It also was trading at 1.7969 marks, down from 1.7990 marks.