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FOREX-Dollar steady after Friday's U.S. jobs-related losses; bitcoin soars

    * Dollar index little changed after Friday payrolls fall
    * Bitcoin hits record high after Tesla purchase
    * Ethereum climbs to all-time peak after futures debut
    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

 (Adds analyst comments on dollar, bitcoin, updates prices)
    By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
    NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - The dollar was flat to slightly lower on Monday in choppy trading, as
investors also focused on rallying cryptocurrencies led by bitcoin after Tesla announced a $1.5 billion
investment in the digital asset.
    The dollar index was last at 90.959, little changed on the day. On Friday, it fell after data
showed the U.S. economy created fewer jobs than expected in January and job losses in December were greater
than initially reported. 
    Investors, however, continued to see a faster U.S. recovery than in most countries. Many analysts now
believe the dollar will remain well-bid in the near to medium term, after a nearly 7% drop in 2020. So far
this year, the dollar has gained 1.1%.
    Jonas Goltermann, senior markets economist, at Capital Economics attributed the dollar's rebound from
lows late last year to the U.S. government's relative success in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccines. 
    According to Capital Economics analysis, more than 10% of Americans have now received a first vaccine
dose, a much faster pace of vaccine rollout than any other major economy aside from the UK. 
    "To the extent that this divergence continues, it could help the dollar rally further," Goltermann said.
"After all, if the U.S. economy fared better than its peers, investors would probably favor U.S. assets over
those elsewhere." 
    Speculators have also been reducing short positions - bets the dollar will weaken - on the currency. Net
bearish bets on the dollar by speculators fell to $29.95 billion for the week ended Feb. 2, according to
calculations by Reuters and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data.
    In afternoon trading, the euro was flat against the dollar at $1.2050.
    In a note to clients, J.P. Morgan strategists said they "have growing confidence of underperformance of
EUR vs USD."
    Investor morale in the euro zone unexpectedly fell in February as lockdowns to suppress the COVID-19
caseload left their mark on the economy, which lost touch with other regions in the world as they recovered
further, a survey by Sentix showed.
    Sentix's investor sentiment index for the euro zone fell into negative territory, dropping to -0.2 from
1.3 in January. 
    The dollar slipped 0.1% against the yen to 105.215, having pulled back from a three-month high
reached on Friday.
    In the cryptocurrency market, bitcoin hit another record high of $44,899 after Tesla Inc
 said on Monday it had invested around $1.5 billion in the virtual currency and expects to begin
accepting payment with it for its cars and other products in the near future..
    Bitcoin was last up 11.15% at $43,188.
    "Tesla's bitcoin disclosure could end up being looked back upon as the event that ensured
cryptocurrencies crossed the chasm into the mainstream," said Eric Kapfhammer, chief operating officer and
head of Polyient Capital, which specializes in digital asset portfolio management.     
    Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, hit a record
high of $1,779.43 after the listing of its futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange late Sunday.
 It was last up 5.8% at $1,708.94.
    
    ========================================================
    Currency bid prices at 3:10PM (2010 GMT)
 Description      RIC         Last           U.S. Close  Pct Change     YTD Pct       High Bid    Low Bid
                                              Previous                   Change                   
                                              Session                                             
 Dollar index                 90.9420        90.9980     -0.06%         1.068%        +91.2280    +90.8970
 Euro/Dollar                  $1.2053        $1.2050     +0.02%         -1.35%        +$1.2067    +$1.2020
 Dollar/Yen                   105.1950       105.3550    -0.14%         +1.86%        +105.6650   +105.1850
 Euro/Yen                     126.79         126.93      -0.11%         -0.10%        +127.1200   +126.6500
 Dollar/Swiss                 0.8987         0.8986      +0.01%         +1.58%        +0.9019     +0.8983
 Sterling/Dollar              $1.3732        $1.3736     -0.03%         +0.51%        +$1.3748    +$1.3680
 Dollar/Canadian              1.2742         1.2757      -0.10%         +0.08%        +1.2782     +1.2740
 Aussie/Dollar                $0.7701        $0.7679     +0.29%         +0.11%        +$0.7715    +$0.7652
 Euro/Swiss                   1.0832         1.0828      +0.04%         +0.23%        +1.0846     +1.0823
 Euro/Sterling                0.8776         0.8767      +0.10%         -1.80%        +0.8793     +0.8762
 NZ                           $0.7219        $0.7194     +0.42%         +0.60%        +$0.7231    +$0.7175
 Dollar/Dollar                                                                                    
 Dollar/Norway                8.5005         8.5405      -0.23%         -0.77%        +8.5485     +8.4940
 Euro/Norway                  10.2473        10.2680     -0.20%         -2.10%        +10.2890    +10.2430
 Dollar/Sweden                8.3885         8.3576      +0.28%         +2.34%        +8.4171     +8.3703
 Euro/Sweden                  10.1115        10.0835     +0.28%         +0.35%        +10.1186    +10.0828
 
    
 (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Dan Grebler and Chizu Nomiyama)
  
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