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Dollar gains on U.S. housing data, hopes for Ukraine breakthrough

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Shutterstock photo - - The dollar traded higher against most major currencies on Monday, buoyed by upbeat data out of the U.S. housing sector and by hopes diplomatic efforts to end the Ukraine conflict will produce concrete results.

In U.S. trading on Monday, EUR/USD was down 0.29% at 1.3361.

Waning geopolitical concerns in Eastern Europe supported the greenback on Monday.

Russian and Ukraine foreign ministers held talks earlier, and while no resolution to end the conflict emerged, the flow of humanitarian aid deliveries into Ukraine from Russia continued, which calmed nerves in global markets.

On Friday, news that Ukrainian troops destroyed a portion of a Russian column of armored vehicles inside Ukraine rattled nerves across the globe, which pushed the greenback into negative territory.

Elsewhere, upbeat U.S. data boosted the greenback by keeping expectations firm that the Federal Reserve remains on track to end its stimulus bond-buying program around October and raise interest rates some time in 2015.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index increased to 55.0 in August, a seven-month high, from 53.0 in July, beating estimates for a reading of 53.0.

A level above 50.0 indicates a favorable outlook on home sales and below indicates a negative outlook.

"As the employment picture brightens, builders are seeing a noticeable increase in the number of serious buyers entering the market," said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly.

The euro, meanwhile, continued to come under pressure due to ongoing expectations that monetary stimulus programs in the U.S. will wind down at the same time the European Central Bank takes steps to loosen policy.

The dollar was up against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.20% at 102.57, and up against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF up 0.44% at 0.9064.

The greenback was down against the pound, with GBP/USD up 0.22% at 1.6729.

The pound strengthened broadly after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said over the weekend that interest rates could rise before wage growth picks up.

In a newspaper interview published on Sunday, Carney said that the bank did not have to wait for wage growth to recover before raising interest rates, shifting away from comments last week indicating the opposite.

Last week, the pound slumped after the Bank of England cut its forecast for wage growth to 1.25% from 2.5% in 2014, before picking up to 3.25% in 2015.

The dollar was mixed against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD down 0.11% at 1.0885, AUD/USD up 0.06% at 0.9326 and NZD/USD down 0.09% at 0.8477.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.19% at 81.63.

On Tuesday, the U.S. is to release reports on building permits, housing starts and consumer inflation. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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