The dollar continued to strengthen versus the euro and extended its gains from the previous session versus the sterling Friday morning in New York as traders weighed key earnings results from Citigroup and General Electric.

On the economic front, the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer confidence index is due to be released at 9:55 a.m. ET. Consumer confidence is expected to rise in the month, with economists forecasting an increase in the index to 58.5 from 57.3 in the previous month.

Fed Chair Ben Bernanke is due to deliver a keynote speech at the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank's conference on Innovative Financial Services for the Underserved at 12 PM on Friday. Kansas City Federal Reserve President Thomas Hoenig is scheduled to deliver opening remarks in Washington at 8:30 AM ET.

The dollar added to this week's big gains versus the euro Friday morning, rising to a monthly high of 1.3044. With traders betting that the US will recovery from the global recession more quickly than the euro area, the dollar has managed to move back toward last fall's multi-year high near 1.2300.

Eurozone trade deficit narrowed to EUR 2 billion in February from January's revised EUR 10.9 billion deficit, the Eurostat said Friday. Economists had expected the deficit to contract to EUR 5 billion.

Friday, Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank said authorities should do all possible things to restore confidence and support growth. Earlier this week, Governing Council member Axel Weber said there is still a little room to cut the main refinancing rate, but it should not go below 1%.

The buck firmed up versus the sterling as well, paring some more of its losses from earlier in the week. The dollar rose to 1.4770, continuing its move away from Wednesday's 3-month low of 1.5068. On a longer term basis, the dollar has leveled off since hitting a 23-year high of 1.3501 in January.

Meanwhile, the dollar continued its run of choppy trading versus the yen, holding just below the century mark. The buck fetched 99.50 in mid-morning dealing, having leveled off since hitting a multi-month high of 101.43 last week.

Friday, Japan's Cabinet Office maintained its economic assessment for the second straight month saying that the economy is worsening rapidly while in a severe situation.

The government said exports are decreasing substantially, a slight improvement from the previous month's assessment that said shipments are falling very substantially.

Looking at news from Wall Street Friday morning, Citigroup Inc. (C) reported first-quarter net profit of $1.59 billion, compared to a net loss of $5.11 billion in the same quarter of last year. Earlier this week, fellow financial firms Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) turned in better-than-expected earnings results.

General Electric Co. (GE: News ) reported first-quarter net earnings attributable to the company of $2.81 billion, compared to $4.3 billion last year. Earnings per share from continuing operations were $0.26, down 40% from $0.43 in the previous year.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com