FOREX-U.S. dollar gains on persistent rise in coronavirus cases – Reuters

    * Scandinavia FX, Aussie dollar give back gains to greenback
    * Japanese yen slips against US dollar
    * Sterling falls on Brexit worries
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2020

 (Adds new comments, U.S. data, FX table, updates prices, changes byline, dateline; previous LONDON)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - The dollar rose for the first time in six days on Thursday, as investors
grew cautious about the persistent rise in coronavirus infections that forced localized shutdowns around
the world, with broad optimism about upcoming COVID-19 vaccines fading a bit.
    The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 passed 250,000 on Wednesday as New York City's public school system,
the country's  largest, halted in-person instruction, citing a jump in infection rates.
    In mid-morning trading, an index which tracks the dollar against a basket of currencies was up 0.1% at
    "The dollar's strength is a spillover from the New York public school closures and the S&P 500 falling
1% to the close, which created a risk-off theme," said Erik Bregar, head of FX strategy, at Exchange Bank
of Canada in Toronto.
    The dollar was also caught between two opposing forces, with a safety bid supporting it while renewed
speculation over monetary easing to boost the economy held it back somewhat.
    The euro slipped 0.2% against the dollar to $1.1830.
    With fiscal stimulus plans falling by the wayside as President Donald Trump's refusal to concede
electoral defeat consumes lawmakers' attention, speculation is growing that the Federal Reserve may
further loosen monetary policy in December.
    Two Fed officials on Wednesday held out the option of doing more, and Treasuries have rallied in
anticipation of a possible expansion of Fed bond buying.
    Still, the Scandinavian currencies and the Australian dollar -- beneficiaries of the dollar's recent
decline -- fell. 
    The Norwegian crown fell 0.5% against the U.S. dollar, which rose to 9.0350. The dollar also
gained against the Swedish crown, up 0.3% at 8.6311, while the Aussie dollar also fell 0.4% to
    "It seems that market participants are confused. They don’t know where to place more emphasis, on the
positive vaccine headlines or on the acceleration of the infections from the pandemic," said Charalambos
Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group.
    Pissouros said he was sticking to his guns, however, "that any declines in risk-linked assets are
likely to stay limited."
    The dollar rose 0.2% against the yen to 103.965 yen. The yen has gained 1.6% in the week
since Pfizer announced promising trial results on its COVID-19 vaccine.
    The greenback showed little reaction though after data showed U.S. weekly jobless claims increased to
a seasonally-adjusted 742,000 for the week ended Nov. 14. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast
707,000 applications for the latest week.
    Elsewhere, sterling dipped 0.3% to $1.3226 against the dollar after The Times newspaper
reported that European leaders will urge the European Commission to publish no-deal Brexit plans as the
year-end deadline approaches.
    Bitcoin rose 1.9% on Thursday to $18,126 not far from the all-time high of nearly $20,000
reached three years ago.
    Currency bid prices at 10:19AM (1519 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct     High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                 
 Dollar index                 92.5510        92.4740     +0.10%         +0.00%      +92.7270    +92.4270
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.1834        $1.1854     -0.16%         +5.56%      +1.1854     +1.1817
 Dollar/Yen                   103.9250       103.8200    +0.17%         -4.25%      +104.2100   +103.7450
 Euro/Yen                     122.97         123.05      -0.07%         +0.84%      +123.2000   +122.8500
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.9126         0.9112      +0.18%         -5.67%      +0.9139     +0.9106
 Sterling/Dollar              1.3223         1.3268      -0.33%         -0.29%      +1.3268     +1.3198
 Dollar/Canadian              1.3085         1.3085      +0.01%         +0.73%      +1.3122     +1.3077
 Aussie/Dollar                0.7269         0.7306      -0.50%         +3.60%      +0.7305     +0.7255
 Euro/Swiss                   1.0798         1.0796      +0.02%         -0.50%      +1.0809     +1.0791
 Euro/Sterling                0.8946         0.8931      +0.17%         +5.82%      +0.8963     +0.8924
 NZ                           0.6897         0.6923      -0.40%         +2.47%      +0.6924     +0.6879
 Dollar/Norway                9.0315         9.0045      +0.48%         +3.14%      +9.0920     +9.0150
 Euro/Norway                  10.6880        10.6880     +0.00%         +8.64%      +10.7485    +10.6729
 Dollar/Sweden                8.6351         8.5980      +0.34%         -7.63%      +8.6569     +8.5877
 Euro/Sweden                  10.2178        10.1835     +0.34%         -2.40%      +10.2345    +10.1787
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfyss; Additional reporting by Olga Cotaga in London; Editing by Kirsten

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