Forex - Japanese yen slightly weaker ahead of retail sales, CPI

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Investing.com - The Japanese yen held slightly weaker on Friday ahead of consumer price and retail sales data closely followed by the market.

USD/JPY traded at 102.20, up 0.02%, while AUD/USD held flat at 0.9258 in a light data day in Australia.

In Japan, core consumer prices for February are due at 0830 Tokyo time (2330 GMT) with an expectation of 1.5% year on year. Also, preliminary retail sales data for February is due at 0850 Tokyo time (2330 GMT) with an expectation for a year-on-year gain of 3.2%.

Overnight, the dollar gained on upbeat fourth-quarter economic growth rates coupled with better-than-expected weekly jobless claims numbers.

That latest of improving U.S. economic indicators kept expectations firm that the Federal Reserve will wind down monthly asset purchases this year and hike interest rates the next, which strengthened the dollar on Thursday.

The Fed's asset-purchasing program, currently set at $55 billion in Treasury and mortgage debt a month, weakens the dollar by suppressing long-term interest rates to spur investing and hiring.

The Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. gross domestic product was revised up to 2.6% in the final three months of 2013, from a preliminary estimate of 2.4%. Market expectations had been for an upward revision to 2.7%.

Still, the report showed that personal spending was revised up to 3.3% from 2.6% initially, the fastest rate of growth in three years, which drew applause from investors.

Separately, the Labor Department said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the U.S. last week declined by 10,000 to a 311,000 from the previous week's revised total of 321,000.

Analysts were expecting jobless claims to rise by 4,000.

Thursday's data fueled already growing opinions that a spate of disappointing economic indicators released earlier in the year were the product of rough winter weather and not due to an underlying decline in demand.

Investors shrugged off a National Association of Realtors report revealing that its pending home sales index dropped by 0.8% last month, disappointing expectations for a 0.3% gain.

Pending home sales for January were revised down to a 0.2% decline from a previously reported gain of 0.1%.

Year-on-year, pending home sales fell at annualized rate of 10.2% in February, worse than expectations for a 8.5% decline, after declining 9.3% in January.

The U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.01% at 80.29.

On Friday, the U.S. is to round up the week with a report on personal spending and revised data on consumer sentiment.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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