* Fed’s Fischer says central bank close to achieving targets
* Dollar pulls further away from roughly 8-week lows vs euro, franc
* Investors await Yellen’s speech at Jackson Hole (Updates prices, adds quotes; changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON)
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, Aug 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar edged higher against a basket of major currencies on Monday, a day after a top Federal Reserve official made comments perceived as hawkish, while hesitation ahead of a speech from the Fed chair on Friday capped the greenback’s gains.
Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said on Sunday that he thought the central bank was close to achieving its employment and inflation targets.
While the Fed’s No. 2 policymaker did not address when the U.S. central bank should next raise interest rates, analysts said his comments could augur a hawkish outlook from Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Friday.
Yellen is expected to give guidance on interest rate policy in a speech at the Fed’s annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“(Fischer) is trying to signal to the market that the Fed is more serious about normalizing policy,” said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management in New York.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was last up 0.14 percent at 94.644 after falling about 1.3 percent last week. The euro was last down 0.18 percent against the dollar at $1.1305 .
The euro hit a nearly eight-week high against the dollar on Aug. 18 of $1.1365, and the greenback hit an eight-week low against the Swiss franc of 0.9532 franc after what traders perceived as mixed signals regarding U.S. monetary policy.
While regional Fed presidents William Dudley, Dennis Lockhart and John Williams addressed the possibility of a September hike last week, Williams also fueled some speculation that the Fed would remain dovish when he called for a recalibration of the Fed’s long-term goals in an essay.
Analysts said anticipation of Yellen’s speech, and the potentially more definitive message it will send on Fed policy, kept the dollar’s gains muted.
Federal funds futures on Monday suggested traders saw a 51 percent chance of a Fed rate hike this year, according to data from CME Group’s FedWatch program.
“For the most part, everyone’s pretty much waiting for Yellen,” said Mazen Issa, senior currency strategist at TD Securities in New York.
The dollar also gained slightly against the yen, partly after the Sankei newspaper reported over the weekend that the Bank of Japan would not rule out deepening a cut to negative rates, quoting Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.
The dollar was last up 0.25 percent against the yen at 100.45 yen. (Reporting by Sam Forgione; Additional reporting by Anirban Nag in London; Editing by Dan Grebler)