( AP )- Another stunner from Wall Street on Friday sent the dollar to record lows against major currencies as U.S. banker Bear Stearns Cos. acknowledged it was in dire financial straits.
The euro traded for an all-time high $1.5687 Friday, while the dollar - which has repeatedly hit record lows this week - fell below the Swiss franc for the first time ever. Meanwhile, the dollar hit its lowest point against the Japanese currency in 12 years.
The U.S. government and JPMorgan Chase & Co. bailed out Bear Stearns Cos. Friday, a last-ditch effort to save the investment bank after a week of denials that it was in trouble. JPMorgan Chase is providing secured funding to Bear for 28 days, backstopped by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Bear Stearns lost half of its value within 30 minutes of the market open.
The dollar hit an all-time low of 0.9969 francs on the Zurich exchange Friday before edging back up to 1.0004 francs, compared with 1.0143 it traded in New York late Thursday. In 1971, the U.S. dollar was worth four francs.
Ashraf Laidi, chief foreign exchange strategist for CMC Markets in New York, pointed to "speculation that the world's major central banks will mount coordinated intervention to stabilize the rout of the dollar."
The dollar, which on Thursday fell below 100 Japanese yen for the first time since late 1995, again dipped as low as 98.88 yen Friday. It clawed back some ground and traded at 99.21 yen, compared with the 102.04 yen it traded Thursday.
In other trading, the British pound fell to $2.0218 from $2.0292, while the dollar slipped to 1.0137 Canadian dollars from 1.0141 Canadian dollars.
The dollar has been weighed down by worries about the outlook for the U.S. economy, which in turn have fed expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to lower interest rates.
Lower interest rates can jump-start a nation's economy, but can also weigh on its currency as traders transfer funds to countries where they can earn higher returns.
The European Central Bank has taken a tough anti-inflation stance and has shown no inclination so far to cut rates for the 15-nation euro zone.