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Euro near all-time high but holds steady in European trading

The euro danced near its all-time high against the dollar on Thursday but was still just shy of the mark despite improved consumer sentiment in Germany.

The 13-nation currency bought US$1.3653 in morning European trading before backing down to US$1.3641, just short of its all-time high of US$1.3667 in December 2004, and up slightly from US$1.3640 in late New York trading on Wednesday.

The slight decline came even though consumer confidence in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, posted a sharp increase, a report by the GfK research group said.

The group said its forward-looking consumer climate indicator leapt to 5.5 points from 4.4. points in April and well above the 4.8 points analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had predicted.

The pound rose as high as US$2.0059 before settling at US$2.0043, compared with its level late Wednesday of US$2.0020.

The pound broke through US$2 last week for the first time in nearly 15 years.

The dollar was up slightly against the Japanese yen, rising to 118.89 yen from 118.69 yen the night before.