The US dollar is mixed against a basket of currencies after US retail data showed sales were better than expected and weekly jobless claims came in close to market forecasts. The Commerce Department indicated US retail sales eased 0.1% in February and the Labor Department indicated new applications for state unemployment benefits rose to 654,000 in the week ending March 7 th . Some risk-averse sentiment can be seen as Wall Street opens flat.
The euro remains little changed against the dollar. Germany 's industrial output fell by a record 7.5% in January, which was worse than the forecasted 3.0% drop. The disappointing figures reflected the dire economic situation across the Euro Zone.
In other news, the European Union is considering lending $75 – 100 billion to the International Monetary Fund to boost its lending capacity, to help countries with balance-of-payments problems.
The British pound weakened against the dollar due to concerns over the UK 's banking sector, weak economic data and uncertainty over the effectiveness of BoE's quantitative easing program.
The Japanese yen rallied against the dollar overnight as revised data showed the economy shrank 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2008, slightly less than preliminary 3.3% figure. However, the dollar trimmed some of those losses in early morning trade as US retail sales data came in better than expected.
The Canadian dollar weakened against the US dollar despite oil rebounding to $43 a barrel. Speculation that Canada 's unemployment rate for February may be higher than expected has also weighed on the loonie. The currency will likely remain range-bound ahead of tomorrow's release of important jobs ands trade data.
The Australian dollar s weakened against the greenback after the country's jobless rate jumped to a four-year high. This data fuelled speculation that the Reserve Bank of Australia will resume cutting rates at their next meeting in April. The New Zealand dollar remains little changed against the US dollar even after Reserve Bank of New Zealand cut rates by 50 basis points.
The Swiss franc weakened against the dollar and euro after Swiss National Bank cut interest rates by 25 basis points to a historical low. SNB said it would buy foreign currencies and bonds, as the country faces its worst recession in over three decades.
10-Year Treasury Note Yield : 2.899%
Dow Jones Industrial Average :6,985.03 + 54.55