The euro appreciated vis-Ã -vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested offers around the US$ 1.5270 level and was supported around the $1.5145 level. The common currency appeared poised to establish a new lifetime high as sentiment worsened for the U.S. dollar. Data released in the U.S. today saw January factory orders fall 2.5% for the first time in five months with the ex-transportation component off 0.4%. Also, ISM non-manufacturing business activity index improved to 49.3 in December but remained in contraction and the new orders and employment sub-indices contracted for the second consecutive month. Additionally, the ADP February payrolls report noted U.S. companies shed an estimated 23,000 jobs, below expectations. Many traders believe this presages weakness in Fridayâ€™s official U.S. jobs report. Many forecasts are focusing on anemic job creation growth of 20,000 to 25,000. Moreover, productivity increased 1.9% in Q4, down from 6.3% growth in Q3 and the slowest pace since Q1. Unit labour costs rose 2.6% in Q4, the largest increase since Q1 2007. Traders await the release of the Fedâ€™s Beige Book later this afternoon and anticipate widespread economic gloom. In eurozone news, the EMU-15 service sector PMI index improved to 52.3 from 50.6 in January. Also, January retail sales were up 0.4% m/m and off 0.1% y /y. Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.4980 level.
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