RTTNews - The dollar took a breather from its recent drubbing at the hands of most major currencies on Thursday, and even showed significant strength against the yen.

Traders considered a number of key economic reports, including a prelude to next week's big government jobs report. The number of people filing first-time unemployment claims edged down again last week, though the figure remained off the multi-month low reached earlier this month.

Increased risk appetite has cripple the dollar of late, as some of the caution displayed by traders during the throes of the financial crisis have given way to visions of green shoots on the economic landscape.

Subsequently, the dollar fell to multi-month lows versus a basket of major currencies over the past month as market sentiment improved. However, the pace of the dollar's plunge may be slowing after Moody's affirmed its AAA rating on the US yesterday.

The dollar rallied versus the yen Thursday, rising above 97 to a 2-week high. With the advance, the dollar took back a big portion of its recent losses.

Against the resurgent sterling, the dollar steadied near 1.5950, having stabilized since hitting a new 6-month low of 1.6085 on Wednesday. As recently as January the dollar hit a 23-year high of 1.3501 but has since plunged on speculation that move was overdone.

Meanwhile, the buck remained choppy versus the euro, with traders still unsure whether the euro zone economy will lag behind in the global economic recovery. The dollar rose to 1.3800 in the early going before slipping back toward last week's 4-month low of 1.4050.

Traders were kept busy by a flurry of economic data. Orders for durable goods increased by much more than expected in the month of April, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday, although the stronger than expected growth came after a steep decline in March.

Foreclosure rates jumped in the first quarter of 2009, setting another record as unemployment forced more people to leave their homes. The Mortgage Bankers Association revealed Thursday that 1.37 percent of mortgages entered foreclosure process in the first three months of 2009, up from 1.08 percent in the fourth quarter 2008.

Overseas, results of a closely watched survey showed that Eurozone economic sentiment improved for the second straight month in May after reaching a historical low in March. Meanwhile, German unemployment recorded a mild increase in May compared to previous months, official data indicated.

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