NEW YORK — The dollar rose slightly against most key currencies Friday in quiet trading, as many investors balanced their currency positions ahead of this weekend's meeting of finance ministers from the seven major industrialized countries.
Gold prices fell. Republic National Bank of New York quoted a bid price for gold bullion at $460 an ounce as of 4 p.m. EDT, down from $462 at the same time Thursday.
Traders said a number of investors who had been short of dollars relative to other currencies purchased the U.S. unit in order to balance their holdings before the finance ministers convene in Washington.
"Traders all seem to want to go home square" in their currency positions, said James Vick, vice president and senior corporate trader for Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co.
Many investors had reduced their dollar holdings Thursday, amid nervousness that the "Group of Seven" might not reach a consensus at the talks. But the expectation took hold in some quarters Friday that the economic policy-makers could commit themselves to supporting the dollar at its current levels against other major currencies.
The Group of Seven is comprised of representatives from the United States, Britain, Japan, France, West Germany, Italy and Canada.
In Tokyo, where trading ends as Europe's business day begins, the dollar edged up to a closing 143.80 Japanese yen from Thursday's 143.75. Later in London, it was quoted at a lower rate of 143.65 yen. In New York, the dollar was quoted at 143.55 yen, up narrowly from 143.46 yen late Thursday.
In London, it cost $1.6405 to buy one British pound, more expensive than $1.6380 late Thursday. By the end of New York trading, the pound stood at $1.6420, slightly cheaper than the $1.6426 posted late Thursday.
Other late dollar rates in New York, compared to late Thursday, included: 1.8210 West German marks, up from 1.8182; 1.5115 Swiss francs, up from 1.5077; 6.0720 French francs, up from 6.0648; 1,313.00 Italian lire, up from 1,312.00, and 1.3130 Canadian dollars, down from 1.3152.