NEW YORK — The dollar finished modestly higher against most major currencies in uneventful New York trading Wednesday, after rising in the Far East but trading mostly lower in Europe.
Gold prices also advanced, after rocketing to five-year highs on Monday and retreating sharply on Tuesday. Republic National Bank in New York quoted a late bid for gold at 4 p.m. EDT of $467.75 an ounce, up from $464 late Tuesday.
Traders said the dollar continued to be supported in domestic trading by the robust recovery on Wall Street and foreign stock markets in the wake of Monday's stunning collapse. The Dow Jones average of 30 industrial stocks jumped a record 186.84 points to close at 2,027.85.
"The dollar just kept being very well supported" in New York dealings, said James Vick, a currency trader for Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. "People are heartened by the fact that the U.S. financial markets aren't falling apart."
President Reagan's spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, expressed pleasure with the "general optimism" in the stock market and repeated assertions that the nation's economy is on a strong footing.
Dealers also attributed the dollar's strength to Tuesday's agreement by U.S. Treasury Secretary James A. Baker III and West German Finance Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg to continue cooperation to stabilize exchange rates.
In Tokyo, where trading ends as Europe's business day begins, the dollar rose to a closing 143.88 Japanese yen, up from 142.80 yen Tuesday. In London trading later Wednesday, the dollar was quoted at 143.47 yen. In New York, the dollar was quoted at 144.60 yen, up from 144.30 late Tuesday.
The dollar slipped against the British pound in London where it cost $1.6545 to buy one pound, more expensive for buyers than late Tuesday's $1.6525. By the end of New York trading, the pound stood at $1.6490, cheaper than the $1.6520 of late Tuesday.
Other late dollar rates in New York, compared to late Tuesday, included: 1.8165 West German marks, up from 1.8125; 1.5105 Swiss francs, up from 1.5045; 6.0535 French francs, up from 6.0435; 1,309.50 Italian lire, up from 1,308.00, and 1.3143 Canadian dollars, up from 1.3140.
Other late dollar rates in Europe, compared to late Tuesday, included: 1.8140 West German marks, up from 1.8090; 1.4983 Swiss francs, down from 1.5040; 6.0235 French francs, down from 6.0475; 2.0300 Dutch guilders, down from 2.0385; 1,302.90 Italian lire, down from 1,305.75, and 1.3170 Canadian dollars, up from 1.3145.
Gold edged up in London to a late bid price of $466 an ounce from late Tuesday's $465.
In Zurich, Switzerland, gold closed at a slightly higher $466.50 an ounce, compared to $466 late Tuesday.
The metal traded in a $2 range, indicating a more stable path following wild swings on Monday and Tuesday, bullion dealers in Zurich said.
They said there was good demand from small investors shaken by Monday's plunge in stock prices.
At the same time, professional traders sold and took profits at around the day's high of $467.50 and the metal settled back, the bullion dealers said.
Earlier, gold closed in Hong Kong at a bid price of $468.76, down from $478.07 on Tuesday.