By Alun John

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The dollar and yen were at the low end of their recent ranges in thin holiday trading on Thursday, having fallen overnight as investors favoured riskier currencies along with equities.

The moves seemed to be linked to recent improved sentiment as many governments resist imposing new, widespread lockdowns, even as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus surges.

Reuters data shows global COVID-19 infections hit a record high over the past seven-days.

“The U.S. dollar resumed its retreat overnight as markets continue to price in finishing Omicron fears thanks to low hospitalisations,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at Oanda.

“That has encouraged investors out of defensive positioning and back into the global recovery trade.”

The euro was at $1.1352 in early Asian trading, after gaining 0.35% and touching a one-month high the day before.

The sterling was at 1.3500, its highest since Nov. 19 after a 0.44% overnight gain.

This left the dollar index, which measures the greenback against major peers, at 95.862, languishing near its lowest in a month.

But with many traders away ahead of the year-end, analysts cautioned against reading too much into the moves.

“In times like these we trade very technically as short-term jobbers try to eek out some final year-end gains,” Brad Bechtel, global head of FX at Jefferies, said in a note to clients.

FX flows have been on the “lighter side of usual for a month end”, Bechtel added.

However, rising U.S. yields put a floor under the dollar.

Benchmark 10-year yields reached 1.56% on Wednesday, the highest since Nov. 29, in U.S. trading after the Treasury sold $56 billion in seven-year notes to weak demand.

They last yielded 1.5496%.

The moves in currencies were in keeping with the broader market. In keeping with the risk-on mood, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at all-time highs on Wednesday, the latter rising for a sixth session. [.N]

The safe haven yen was at 114.95 per dollar after touching a one-month low of 115.03 on Wednesday. Its November trough of 115.51 was its lowest since early 2017.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7254, having held onto its recent gains.

The Turkish lira was at 12.6 per dollar having fallen 6.9% on Wednesday in another volatile day.

Despite surging more than 50% last week following state-backed market interventions, it has lost 40% of its value this year. However, Turkey’s Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati said on Wednesday that the current swings in the lira were not worrying and that it would return to normal levels.

Bitcoin fell for a third session in a row. It was last around $46,200, having been trending lower since hitting an all-time high of $69,000 in November.

(Reporting by Alun John in Hong Kong, additional reporting by John McCrank in New York; Editing by Himani Sarkar)