RTTNews - The dollar was steady versus other majors Thursday morning in New York ahead of the the release of pivotal retail sales and jobless claims data.

Its been a choppy week for the dollar, which has shown signs of stabilizing after coming under intense pressure last month. With traders on the fence about the Federal Reserve's stance on interest rates, the dollar has managed to avoid setting new multi-month lows.

Today's retail sales data will be the primary focus, with traders looking for indications that the consumer can help lead the economy out of the doldrums.

Retail sales for May are expected to rise to 0.5 percent from last month's negative 0.4 percent. The Commerce Department report will be especially closely watched, as traders will look to see if improved consumer sentiment has translated to spending.

Trading is also likely to be driven by the Labor Department's jobless claims data for the week ended June 6th. Economists expect first time claims to come in at 625,000 compared to 621,000 the previous week.

The dollar held its ground versus the euro, staying near 1.4000. Against the sterling, the buck edged to a weekly low of 1.6491. With the modest loss, the dollar inched closer to a 6-month low of 1.6662 from earlier in June.

The dollar continued to consolidate its recent gains versus the yen, staying near 98.30. Earlier in the week, the dollar hit a monthly high of 98.87.

Petro-linked currencies could be in play after the the International Energy Agency raised global oil demand estimate for 2009 by 120,000 barrels a day, following a stronger-than-expected first quarter OECD data. Crude rose above $72 on the news. The dollar was holding near C$1.1000 versus the loonie, after seeing big losses over the course of May.

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