The dollar weakened Thursday in New York, moving lower against the euro and the pound as traders regained some risk appetite on the day, driving equity markets higher. The buck came under some pressure against the yen earlier as stocks moved off of their morning highs.
Earnings were once again the focal point in U.S., with a fresh influx of earnings data as Apple (AAPL), Yum Brands Inc. (YUM) and Hershey Foods Corp (HSY) reported figures that edged out analyst expectations, while United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) disappointed.
On the economic front, first-time claims for unemployment benefits increased roughly in line with economist estimates in the week ended April 18th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday. The report also showed another record number of continuing claims.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors released a report Thursday morning showing that existing home sales fell by more than expected in the month of March, but noted that first-time buyers are responding to low mortgage interest rates and tax credits.
The greenback slipped to a fresh multi-day low of 1.3086 in earlier trading, extending its losses against the euro. Moving into the early afternoon hours, the dollar continues to test the new low. The move came after the greenback reached a monthly high of 1.2887 on Monday.
Indicating that the pace of slowdown is easing in Eurozone, the composite, manufacturing and services purchasing managers' indexes, or PMIs rose to six-month highs in April, reports showed citing data from the Markit Economics.
Euro area's working day and seasonally adjusted current account deficit contracted to EUR 8.1 billion in February from a revised EUR 12.3 billion deficit in January, the European Central Bank said. Economists had expected the deficit to narrow to EUR 10.7 billion.
This supports our expectation that the euro economy will contract at a slower rate in the spring than at the start of the year, Commerzbank analyst Christoph Weil said. Even so, the analyst said the pressure is still on the European Central Bank to cut rates again.
The buck dropped to 1.4643 against the sterling in the early afternoon, giving back some of the gains posted earlier this week. The move came after the buck climbed to its highest level in nearly three weeks on Tuesday, with a quote of 1.4397. Late last week, the dollar hit its lowest level since mid-January against the sterling, posting a quote of 1.5070.
Data from the U.K. showed that business sentiment fell at a slower rate for the first time in seven quarters. Separately, demand for British manufactured goods fell at its fastest rate in thirty years in the first quarter, but firms are confident that the pace of decline will slow slightly in the next three months, the latest quarterly Industrial Trends survey by the Confederation of British Industry revealed.
The greenback edged lower against the yen, dipping just below its overnight quote of 98.04. The dollar continues to hover near a three week low of 97.56 reached on Tuesday, largely leveling off since hitting a 3-month high of 101.43 yen on April 6th.
A significant decline in Japanese imports indicate that the contribution from net exports to the first quarter gross domestic product should be substantially smaller than the minus 3 percentage points contribution in the fourth quarter last year, BNP Paribas economists said in a note.
Data from the U.S. Labor Department showed that initial jobless claims rose to 640,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 613,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 639,000 from the 610,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A housing industry report showed that existing home sales fell 3.0 percent to an annual rate of 4.57 million units in March from a downwardly revised level of 4.71 million in February. With the monthly decrease, existing home sales were down 7.1 percent compared to the same month a year ago.
Economists had expected existing home sales to fall to a 4.65 million unit rate from the 4.72 million unit rate originally reported for the previous month.
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