WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - The U.S. dollar firmed up against most of its major counterparts on Thursday, rebounding from early weakness, after data showed a bigger than expected drop in jobless claims last week.
Data from the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims fell to 547,000 last week, a decrease of 39,000 from the previous week's revised level of 586,000.
The continued drop came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to rebound to 617,000 from the 576,000 originally reported for the previous month.
With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims slid to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.
A report released by the Conference Board showed its index of leading U.S. economic indicators increased by much more than expected in the month of March.
The Conference Board said its leading economic index jumped by 1.3% in March after edging down by a revised 0.1% in February.
The dollar index, which was down at 91.00 in the early Asian session, rose to 91.42 around mid afternoon, and was last seen at 91.28, up 0.14% from previous close.
Against the Euro, the dollar firmed up to $1.2014, gaining nearly 0.2%. The European Central Bank today left interest rates unchanged and made no changes to its bond-buying efforts. The central bank said the Governing Council decided to 'reconfirm its very accommodative monetary policy stance.'
The central bank said it would continue to buy bonds under its 1.85 trillion euro pandemic emergency purchase program until at least the end of March 2022, while net purchases under its asset purchase program would continue at a monthly pace of 20 billion euros.
The ECB added that PEPP purchases, as decided at the previous meeting, will continue at a significantly faster pace over the current quarter.
The Pound Sterling weakened against the dollar, and was fetching $1.3839 a unit, nearly 0.7% less than the $1.3932 it got Wednesday evening. UK manufacturing orders grew at the fastest pace in two years and the optimism among manufacturers rose the most since 1973, survey results from the Confederation of British Industry showed on Thursday.
The Yen was slightly stronger at 107.97 a yen, gaining from 108.06.
The Aussie was weak at US$ 0.7707, sliding from US$ 0.7754.
The Swiss franc was 0.9169 a dollar. Switzerland's exports grew in the first quarter, data from the Federal Customs Administration showed. The report said exports increased 4.9% sequentially in the first quarter, following a 13% rise in the fourth quarter.
Imports grew 1.9% in the first quarter, after a 1.1% drop in the previous quarter. The trade surplus rose to CHF 11.28 billion in the first quarter from CHF 9.405 billion in the previous quarter.
The Loonie was slightly stronger at 1.2502 a dollar after crude oil prices rebounded from early losses.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX
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