The dollar was mixed versus other major currencies Wednesday morning in New York, holding most of its recent gains versus the euro while coming under modest pressure against the yen. With little first-tier economic data for traders to consider, attention will turn to how equities markets behave amid the release of another flurry of key corporate earnings results.
Boeing, AT&T, Wells Fargo and McDonalds are just out with quarterly earnings. US stock futures continued to point to a lackluster open as traders weighed those results.
In news from the housing sector, mortgage applications in the U.S. rose last week as lower interest rates encouraged refinancing. The Mortgage Bankers Association's index of applications rose 5.3 percent to 1,172.2 in the week ended April 17, from 1,113.2 the week before.
On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that the vast majority of U.S. banks have enough capital and hinted that the credit markets may be thawing following their deep freeze.
Geithner will again take center stage this morning, speaking about the recession at 9 am ET.
The dollar was range-bound versus the euro Wednesday morning, clinging to its gains from a recent run-up. The buck hovered between 1.2900 and 1.3000 in early dealing, moving to the lower end of that range approaching 8 am ET. On Monday, the dollar hit a monthly high of 1.2887.
Meanwhile, the dollar was weaker against the sterling this morning as traders reacted to the release of the minutes of the latest Bank of England policy meeting. The dollar slipped to 1.4650, giving back its gains from the previous session and moving back towards last week's multi-month low near 1.5000.
Wednesday, the minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting of the Bank of England held on April 8 and 9 showed that policymakers voted unanimously to hold the Bank Rate at a historical low of 0.5%.
The minutes also revealed that all the nine members of the MPC stood united while deciding to continue with the initial asset purchase plan worth GBP 75 billion.
Also, the jobless rate in the UK was 6.7% for the three months to February 2009, up from revised 6.1% in the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics said Wednesday. That was in line with economists' expectations.
The dollar eased a bit versus the yen this morning, slipping to 97.73 before finding support near Monday's 3-week low of 97.64. The buck has leveled off since hitting a 3-month high of 101.43 earlier this month.
Export-driven Japan's trade balance for fiscal 2008 suffered its first annual deficit in nearly three decades, data released Wednesday showed. The Ministry of Finance said Japanese exports plunged a record 16.4% to Y71.14 trillion during the fiscal year ended in March.
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