Investing.com - The Japanese yen held slightly weaker on Friday
ahead of consumer price and retail sales data closely followed by
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
Overnight, the dollar gained on upbeat fourth-quarter economic
growth rates coupled with better-than-expected weekly jobless
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
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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