RTTNews - The dollar was steady versus other majors Thursday morning in New York as traders weighed interest rate decisions from the European Central Bank and Bank of England while looking ahead to the release of a prelude to tomorrow's pivotal jobs report.
Initial jobless claims figures for the week ended May 30th will be released by the Labor Department at 8:30 am ET. The figure is expected to improve to 620,000 first time claims compared to last week's figure of 623,000.
In a separate report, the Labor Department will reveal revised productivity and labor cost figures for the first quarter of 2009. Both reports will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Traders will also look to more comments from Fed Chief Ben Bernanke, who is set to remark on financial markets and monetary policy in the nation's capital at 8:45 a.m. ET.
The European Central Bank and Bank of England held steady on interest rates, as expected. Focus will shift to the press conference accompanying the ECB's rate call, looking for quantitative easing measures.
The dollar stemmed the tide of severe losses versus other majors yesterday, and remained stable this morning amid speculation its recent plunge may have been overdone. Its been a year of extremes for the dollar, which soared to a 23-year high against the sterling in January before coming under heavy pressure as market sentiment improved, renewing risk appetite.
Versus the euro Thursday morning, the dollar held near 1.4130, a modest improvement from a 5-month low of 1.4338 set earlier in the week.
The buck eased very slightly versus the sterling after seeing a nice rebound in the previous session. The dollar pulled back to 1.6350, moving closer to a 6-month low of 1.6662 from earlier this week.
The European Central Bank retained the interest rate on the main refinancing operations at 1% after cutting the rate by a quarter point from 1.25% in May. The decision matched economists' expectations. The ECB has lowered interest rates by a total of three and a quarter percentage points since early October 2008.
The Bank of England maintained its key interest rate at a historic low as expected and voted to continue with its asset purchase scheme.
At the end of two-day rate setting meeting, the Monetary Policy Committee maintained the Bank Rate at 0.5%, the lowest since the central bank was established in 1694.
Meanwhile, the dollar drifted a bit higher versus the yen, rising to 96.70. With the gain, the dollar moved to the higher end of this week's trading range.
Japanese companies reduced their spending on plant and equipments in the first three months of 2009 as plunging profits forced corporates to cut investment.
During January to March, capital spending plummeted 25.3% from the previous year, following a 17.3% decline in the fourth quarter of 2008, the Ministry of Finance said in a report on Thursday. However, the annual decline in the first quarter was not as severe as the expected 30% slump.
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