RTTNews - The dollar was mostly weaker Thursday in New York, plunging versus higher-yielding counterparts while gaining significant ground on the yen amid soaring appetite for riskier assets.

Gains in equities markets worldwide have caused traders to seek positions in the euro and sterling, while the prospect of higher commodities prices has given a major boost to resource-linked currencies like Canada's loonie.

News that US first-time claims for unemployment benefits showed a moderate increase in the week ended July 18th did little to impact currencies, as traders kept an eye on corporate earnings results and another day of gains on Wall Street.

A Labor Department report showed that jobless claims rose to 554,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 524,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to increase to 557,000 from the 522,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The dollar dropped to a 7-week low of 1.4290 versus the euro, extending its recent downtrend. A drop to 1.4338 would take the dollar to its lowest level of 2009.

Versus the sterling, the dollar hit a nearly 4-week low of 1.6585, moving closer to June's 7-month low of 1.6744.

Meanwhile, the dollar continued its trek toward parity with the surging loonie, slipping to a 7-week low of C$1.0840. The dollar has dropped around 8 Canadian cents in the past 10 days amid growing evidence that the economy north of the border is in better shape than previously feared.

On the flip side, the dollar surged higher versus the yen, reaching 94.80. On July 13, the dollar touched a 5-month low of 91.74.

Looking at housing data from the US, existing home sales increased for the third consecutive month in June, according to a report released by the National Association of Realtors on Thursday, with sales increasing by more than economists had been expecting.

The report showed that existing home sales rose 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.89 million units in June from a downwardly revised rate of 4.72 million in May. Nonetheless, sales were down 0.2 percent compared to the 4.90 million-unit level in the same month a year ago.

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