The major currency pairs stuck within recent ranges in the Thursday session, with the greenback recuperating some of its losses from previous sessions. The dollar pushed the euro lower amid lingering uncertainty over deficit concerns in Greece. Meanwhile, the US equity indexes were flat on the session with the Nasdaq advancing by about 0.4%. Crude oil was also slightly weaker, slipping toward the $85.20-per barrel mark.
The US economic reports released earlier in the session were mixed. Weekly jobless claims missed calls for an improvement to 440k, instead edging up to 484k from 460k in the previous week. The NY Fed manufacturing survey sharply exceeded expectations, printing at 31.86 for April from 22.86 in the previous month. The TIC capital flows revealed a net capital inflow of $9 billion for February compared with an outflow of $10.2 billion in January. The data also showed that China was a net seller of US Treasuries for the third consecutive month - as its holdings declined by $11.5 billion in February to $877.5 billion. Industrial production fell short of estimates for an increase by 0.7%, printing at 0.1% for March versus an upwardly revised 0.3% reading a month earlier. The capacity utilization figure was slightly stronger than anticipated at 73.2% from 73.0% in February. The April Philadelphia Fed business survey also came in stronger than forecast at 20.2 versus 18.9 in March. Rounding out today's reports was a better than expected reading on the NAHB housing market index - which climbed higher to 19, sharply outpacing calls for an increase to 16 from 15 in March.
The calendar for Friday consists of key gauges on the economy, including March building permits, housing starts and the April preliminary University of Michigan consumer confidence survey. The housing data is expected to be mixed with building permits softer in March to 620k while housing starts are expected to edge higher to 590k units. Meanwhile, the University of Michigan consumer confidence survey is expected to edge up marginally to 74.0 in April from 73.6 a month earlier.
China posted strong Q1 growth figures, beating out consensus estimates with the economy expanding at its best pace in over 3-years by 11.9% versus 10.7% from the last quarter of 2009. The consumer price index, however, eased up a bit to 2.4% from 2.7%. Nonetheless, fears of an overheating economy will prompt the Chinese government to tap on the brakes and likely implement additional measures to tighten policy over the coming months.