* Dollar firms to six-week highs against yen
* Draghi's optimistic comments underpin euro
* Sterling skids, pressured by euro's ascent
TOKYO, March 10 The dollar firmed to six-week
highs against the yen on Friday and looked set for a modest
weekly gain as investors awaited U.S. job data later in the day
that is expected to reinforce expectations of a Federal Reserve
interest rate hike next week.
A surprisingly robust private U.S. jobs report from ADP
heightened bets that the monthly nonfarm payrolls release would
give the Fed more reason to raise interest rates at its March
14-15 meeting, as many central bank officials have recently
signaled it intends to do.
Markets were pricing in more than a 90 percent chance of a
hike after Wednesday's private-sector payrolls report showed
employers added 298,000 jobs in February.
Analysts polled by Reuters forecast that U.S. employers
likely added 190,000 workers last month, fewer than January's
227,000 and average hourly earnings likely grew 0.3 percent
following a 0.3 percent fall in January.
The dollar was up 0.3 percent at 115.24 yen, firming
to its highest levels since Jan. 27, and up more than 1 percent
for the week.
"The dollar has risen as U.S. Treasury yields went up this
week, but there appears to be some resistance on the upside
around the middle of the 115-yen level," said Yutaka Miura, a
senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose as
high as 2.618 percent in Asian trading on Friday, its highest
since Dec. 16 according to Reuters data, and well above
Thursday's U.S. close of 2.598 percent as investors factored in
a U.S. rate hike.
The euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.0590, but still
down 0.3 percent for the week even after comments from European
Central Bank head Mario Draghi pulled it off its session lows on
Draghi said the ECB removed a reference to using all
available measures to induce growth and inflation "because the
sense of urgency is not there."
He also said the Governing Council had discussed removing a
reference to lowering interest rates in its forward guidance,
and had increased its inflation and growth profile for the euro
zone next year.
Against the yen, the euro rose 0.4 percent to 122.03
, ascending to its highest levels since early February
and up 0.8 percent for the week.
Draghi's optimism pressured the pound, which fell as low as
$1.2134, its deepest trough since Jan. 17. It was last
slightly lower on the day at $1.2159, down more than 1 percent
for the week.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a
basket of six major rivals, edged up 0.1 percent to 101.94
, and was on track to gain 0.4 percent for the week.
(Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Kim Coghill)