RTTNews - The euro has gained ground on its lower-yielding rivals on Thursday in New York, as global stocks rallied, fueling risk appetite. The European currency was little changed versus the pound.

The major U.S. averages were all up about 2% in mid-day trading, while the French and German markets both posted gains of better than 2%. When stocks rise, traders tend to turn to currencies like the euro over the less-risky dollar and yen.

The euro rallied to a 7 1/2-week high of 1.4290 against the U.S. dollar. The rise took the European currency above a recent trading range.

A Labor Department report showed that jobless claims rose to 554,000 in the week ended July 18th 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 euro rose to a three-week high of 135.47 against the Japanese yen, continuing an upward trend that began yesterday morning.

Data released today by the Ministry of Finance showed that the Japanese trade surplus came in at 508 billion yen in June, much higher than the surplus of 104.1 billion yen last year. However, it was lower than economists' expectation of a surplus of 610 billion yen.

The euro was little changed amid choppy trading against the pound, moving near 0.8615. Earlier, the European currency hit as low as 0.8599 after reaching a nine-day high of 0.8690 earlier in the week.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics showed today that U.K. retail sales grew 1.2% month-on-month in June, exceeding economists' expectations for a 0.3% increase. The latest report showed that the 0.6% slump initially recorded for May was downwardly revised to a 0.9% decline.

In economic news from the Eurozone, the European Central Bank said the Eurozone recorded a seasonally and working day adjusted current account deficit of 1.2 billion euros in May, narrowing from a revised deficit of 6.1 billion euros in April.

Italy's retail sales were flat on a monthly basis in May, data released by the Istat showed today, after falling 0.4% in April. Economists had forecast an increase of 0.1%. Compared to last year, there was a decline of 2.9% in sales at Italy's retail shops, quicker than a revised 0.2% drop in the previous month and the 2% drop forecast.

Data released by statistical office INSEE showed today that confidence among French businesses improved slightly in July. The business confidence indicator rose to 78 in July from 76 in June, which was upwardly revised from 75 reported earlier. Economists were looking for a reading of 77.

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