The US dollar strengthened against the euro, but remains mostly unchanged against most major currencies. The Labor Department reported initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 457,000 last week. Data from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said factory activity growth in the mid-Atlantic region rose to an above forecast18.9 in March.

The euro weakened after comments from an unidentified Greek official claiming the optimism of Greece receiving aid from Eurozone members was low. Greece further warned that it cannot achieve promised deficit cuts if its borrowing costs remain so high and may have to call in the IMF. On the data front, European Union statistics office reported the Eurozone's non-adjusted trade-deficit narrowed to 8.9 billion euros ($12.2 billion) in January.

The British pound held on to its recent gains after better than expected economic data, but weakened slightly after the Philly Fed report from the US. The Office for National Statistics said public sector net borrowing in February was GBP 12.361 billion ($18.88 billion), well below economists' forecast of GBP 14.75 billion. However, concerns still remain about the UK's ballooning budget deficit.

The Japanese yen strengthened overnight, but gave back some of those gains after better than expected economic news from the US. The yen strengthened after a survey showed Japanese companies have become far less gloomy about economic conditions than three months ago.

The Canadian dollar held on to its recent gains despite oil prices dipping slightly as the US dollar recouped some of its recent losses. Oil prices dropped to $82 a barrel, and gold prices retreated on firmer US dollar.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars slightly weakened vs. the US dollar as concerns over Greek debt financing came back to the forefront. Optimism that the Eurozone may not help finance debt-ridden Greece has brought risk-averse sentiment back to market players. The Aussie and the Kiwi were slightly lower as commodity prices slipped.

 

Indicative rates:

 

EUR/USD

1.3742

USD/JPY

89.91

GBP/USD

1.5328

USD/CAD

1.0179

USD/MXN

12.4307

USD/CHF

1.0550

AUD/USD

0.9272

NZD/USD

0.7204

10-Year Treasury Note Yield: 3.666%

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 10,760.12 + 26.45