Aussie & NZ dlrs firmer, eyes on job data
WELLINGTON/SYDNEY, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The Australian and New Zealand dollars were firmer against the U.S. dollar while making gains on the euro following an S&P downgrade of Spain, though investors were cautious ahead of Australian job data later in the session.
* Aussie edges up to $1.0235 early, from $1.0220 in late local trade on Wednesday, having hit a near one-week high of $1.0263 overnight.
* Firmer iron-ore prices also help, up another 0.4 pct to $117.7 a tonne, bringing gains this week to almost 13 pct. The mineral has now recouped around half of the huge fall suffered in July and August, a major relief for miners as it is Australia's biggest export earner.
* But Aussie marking time ahead of crucial job data, with markets expecting only a slight gain of 3,750 jobs in September. Jobless rate seen rising to 5.3 pct, from 5.1 pct.
* Anything weaker would add to speculation the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) could cut interest rates again next month, following last week's ease to 3.25 pct.
* Interbank futures show around a 60 pct chance of a move in November and are fully priced for a cut to 3 pct by Christmas.
* Aussie support seen around Oct 9 low of $1.0175, then $1.0150, while sellers lined up around $1.0260, an Oct 10 high.
* NZ dollar holds at $0.8169 early, little changed from $0.8166 in late trade. It has ranged between a one-month low of $0.8145 and $0.8206 in offshore trade.
* NZ Finance Minister Bill English reiterates that the government budget remains on track to return to surplus in three years. Markets have been uncertain about the goal after he did not specifically repeat the plan in the government's 2011/12 financial statement on Wednesday.
* Solid kiwi support around $0.8150 hold, while $0.8190 continue to cap the top side.
* Kiwi down 1.6 pct vs the greenback so far this month, vs Aussie's 1.3 pct drop. Aussie has narrowed its losses with the pullback in iron-ore prices, even as markets still expect more rate cuts in Australia vs steady rate outlook in NZ.
* That also leads to further buying in the Aussie against the kiwi , pushing the pair up 0.4 pct to a two-week high of NZ$1.2545 before steadying around NZ$1.2521. The cross hit a one year low of NZ$1.2361 last week.
* In other markets, the euro dips after S&P downgrades Spain a notch to BBB-, putting it on a par with Moody's, and says may cut further.
* Euro off at A$1.2577 , and at NZ$1.5752 .
* Wall Street lost ground, with the S&P 500 down for a fourth day, weighed by disappointing news from Chevron and Alcoa as earnings season got under way. The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index was also down 0.7 pct.
* NZ expects monthly food prices, manufacturing and consumer confidence survey.
* NZ government bonds start softer, with yields up 1 basis point along the curve.
* Australian government bond futures higher with three-year contract up 0.010 point at 97.640, and the 10-year contract 0.03 point higher at 97.045.
((Australia/New Zealand bureaux)(+61 2 9373 1800/+64 4 802 7980))
Keywords: MARKETS AUSTRALIA NEWZEALAND/FOREX