RTTNews - The dollar was mixed versus other majors in relatively quiet dealing Monday, with traders expressing some renewed risk appetite as US stocks rallied.

Traders mulled another report suggesting that the embattled housing market may have bottomed out this spring, after a brutal stretch that sparked the near-collapse of the financial system.

U.S. home builders became more optimistic in May, according to industry data released Monday. This was the second consecutive month of improvement as attitudes among industry players are now at their highest level since late last summer.

The National Association of Home Builders said its index of sentiment rose in May to a level of 16. This was up from the mark of 14 recorded for April.

The dollar fell versus the euro and sterling Monday, suffering most of losses in early dealing, but then stabilized after the housing data fueled speculation that the US will be the first to emerge from the global economic slowdown.

The buck dropped to 1.5335 against the sterling, pulling up just shy of the 4-month low of 1.5354 set last week. Its been a rough month for the dollar against the sterling, with the buck moving well away from January's 23-year high of 1.3501.

The dollar also eased to a lesser degree versus the euro, slipping a penny to 1.3534. Last week, the dollar hit a 2-month low of 1.3721, but has since found its footing on concerns about that the monetary policy of the European Central Bank will prevent economic recovery from taking hold across the Atlantic.

Eurozone trade balance unexpectedly swung to surplus in March, despite exports and imports being in the negative territory, official report showed Monday.

The unadjusted trade balance rose to a surplus of EUR 0.4 billion in March from a revised EUR 1 billion deficit in February and from EUR 2.3 billion shortfall in March 2008. Economists had expected a deficit of EUR 0.3 billion.

The average asking price for a home in Great Britain was up for the fourth consecutive month, the property Web site Rightmove said on Monday, climbing 2.4 percent in May after a 1.8 percent gain in April.

The dollar charged ahead versus the yen, rising to a weekly high of 96.35. The dollar pared a fraction of its recent losses bouncing away from a 2-month low of 94.54.

Tuesday will also see the release of more data about the housing market in the US, with the government scheduled to release statistics on new home building activity.

The cavalcade of housing reports will continue next week, when reports on sales of newly-built homes and on sales of previously-owned homes will be released.

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