TOKYO, Feb. 27 -- (Kyodo) _ The U.S. dollar stalled in the lower 102 yen zone in Tokyo on Thursday, as geopolitical risk posed by the upheaval in Ukraine kept traders wary and drowned out upbeat U.S. economic data.
At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 102.36-37 yen against 102.30-40 yen in New York and 102.33-34 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Wednesday. It moved between 102.23 yen and 102.45 yen during the day, changing hands most frequently at 102.37 yen.
The euro was quoted at $1.3674-3675 and 139.97-140.01 yen against $1.3682-3692 and 140.05-15 yen in New York and $1.3741-3742 and 140.62-66 yen in Tokyo late Wednesday afternoon.
Fresh fears over the stability of Ukraine following the ousting of pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych subdued traders' risk appetite and kept the dollar nearly flat against the yen, despite news overnight of stronger-than-expected U.S. new home sales in January.
U.S. new home sales in January came to an annual rate of 468,000 units, up from December's figure of 427,000 and breaking with a recent run of soft U.S. data, but the figure's impact was dulled, said Yuji Saito, director of foreign exchange at Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank in Tokyo.
"For now the risk-off mood on Ukraine has led to the buying up of U.S. Treasury bonds, keeping bond yields down and meaning the dollar won't rise against the yen even if data adding to positive dollar sentiment comes out," Saito said.
Overnight, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military drills in areas of the country bordering Ukraine, sending the euro down against the dollar and yen and denting risk appetite worldwide.
"Before getting the support of the International Monetary Fund and European Union, Ukraine has to check items off a long list -- first elections, then a working central bank and a stable exchange rate," Saito said.
"Market participants are waiting on the setting of elections, and at least until then the situation in Ukraine will continue to significantly contribute to risk aversion," he said.
Uncertainty on Russia's intended actions on Ukraine is likely to drag on while Russia hosts the Sochi Paralympic Games March 7 to 16, said Yuzo Sakai, manager of foreign exchange business promotion at Tokyo Forex & Ueda Harlow.
"It would be highly surprising if Russia were to make any bold moves, at least militarily, while the spotlight remains on Sochi," Sakai said.
Searching for hints on the U.S. economic condition amid adverse winter weather, traders are also waiting on U.S. Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen's testimony before a Senate panel on the central bank's semiannual monetary policy report later Thursday.
"Yellen's testimony offers something for market participants to grab on to in order to illuminate in some way the direction of the U.S. economy," Sakai said.