The rupee on Friday broke off a three-day losing stretch by rebounding 12 paise to end at 64.45 against the dollar, spurred by a blistering rally in domestic equities. Fresh selling of the American currency amid unwinding of long dollar bets ahead of release of key US macro data sparked the revival. Sentiment remained fragile though, given strong dollar sentiment overseas and continuous pullout of funds by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), who sold shares worth net Rs 1,075.62 crore yesterday. In early trade, recouping from a two-week low, the rupee opened a tad higher at 64.55 against Thursday's close of 64.57 on stray dollar selling. After briefly hitting a fresh intra- day low, the home currency was in a tight range for most part of the day. In the end, it ended at the day's highest level of 64.45, a gain of 12 paise -- 0.19 per cent. On a weekly basis, the home unit settled flat with a positive bias.
It had depreciated 20 paise against the dollar in the past three sessions. Local equities continued their sizzling run as the relief rally got extended for the second straight day, driven up by relentless buying in beaten-down stocks and firm global cues. The benchmark Sensex zoomed over 301 points to close at 33,250.30 while the Nifty jumped 99 points to 10,265.65. The RBI fixed the reference rate at 64.4649 for the dollar and 75.7978 for the euro. Crude oil prices made a modest recovery from its recent dramatic plunge on the back of a threatened strike in Nigeria, which revived fears of supply disruptions, supported by China's booming oil demand. Brent crude, the international benchmark, traded at $62.55 a barrel in Asian trade. On the global front, the dollar ran up to a two-week high against a basket of major currencies amid investor optimism over US tax reforms and release of the US non-farm payroll report later in the day. Expectations of a US Fed rate hike by 25 basis points next week ran high. The greenback found support after US Senate Republicans agreed to talks with the House of Representatives on a major tax reform Bill on Wednesday. The dollar index, which measures the greenback's value against a basket of six major currencies, was up at 93.97 in early trade. In cross-currency trades, the rupee dropped further against the pound sterling to finish at 86.81, from 86.36 per pound, but remained firm against the euro to end at 75.64 from 76.08 yesterday. The home currency also strengthened against the Japanese yen to settle at 56.76 per 100 yens compared to 57.28 earlier. Elsewhere, the pound sterling went on a classic roller- coaster ride against the US dollar after the news of the UK reaching a deal with the EU on Brexit negotiations. In forward market today, premium for dollar weakened further. The benchmark six-month premium payable in May moved down to 131-133 paise, from 133-135 paise, and the far forward October 2018 contract also eased to 268.50-270.50 paise, from 271-273 paise yesterday.