NEW YORK — The dollar drifted narrowly lower against all major currencies after rising overseas Thursday, while gold prices stabilized in domestic and European trading following a worldwide selloff.
Republic National Bank of New York quoted a late bid for gold of $445 an ounce, up $4.25 from Wednesday when the price of the precious metal plummeted nearly $14 amid rumors of a Soviet nuclear accident.
Traders attributed the dollar's slump to mostly technical factors, saying the American currency ran into resistance as it attempted to break the 1.70 West German mark level.
"We . . . lost courage and the dollar drifted lower as a result," said Zlatko Glamuzina, chief dealer at the New York office of Banco di Sicilia.
Glamuzina said the dollar "didn't really fall down as much as it consolidated the gains of this week." He said the dollar was poised to move higher soon.
In Tokyo, where the global trading day begins, the dollar was boosted by a Finance Ministry report that Japan posted a trade deficit for the first 20 days of January.
The dollar rose to 128.60 yen from 127.88 yen at Wednesday's close. It edged up to 128.80 yen in London. Later, in New York, the dollar stood at 128.22 yen, down from 128.42 yen Wednesday.
The British pound fell to $1.7595 from $1.7675 late Wednesday. Sterling fetched $1.76775 in New York, up from $1.76135.
Other late dollar rates in New York, compared to late Wednesday, included: 1.68625 West German marks, down from 1.6942; 1.37975 Swiss francs, down from 1.38525; 1.26925 Canadian dollars, down from 1.2744; 5.6925 French francs, down from 5.7135, and 1,241.50 Italian lire, down from 1,245.75.
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