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Dollar mixed vs. rivals in cautious trade

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Shutterstock photo - The U.S. dollar was mixed against the other major currencies on Monday, as market sentiment was hit by ongoing concerns over the outlook for growth in the euro zone and U.S. budget woes.

During U.S. morning trade, the dollar was steady against the euro, with EUR/USD edging down 0.04% to 13012.

The euro remained under pressure after Sentix said its investor confidence index for the euro zone dropped to minus 10.6 in March from a reading of minus 3.9 the previous month, exceeding expectations for a decline to minus 5.2.

Earlier Monday, official data showed that the number of unemployed people in Spain rose far less-than-expected in February, increasing by 59,400 after a 132,100 rise the previous month.

Analysts had expected the number of unemployed people to rise by 77,500 last month.

The euro had weakened broadly on Friday, after preliminary datashowed that consumer price inflation in the bloc ticked down to a annualized rate of 1.8% in February, while a separate report showed that the unemployment rate in the region rose to a new record high of 11.9% in January.

The greenback was lower against the pound, with GBP/USD adding 0.25% to 1.5072.

The pound continued to trade near 31-month lows against the greenback, after Markit research group said the U.K.'s construction purchasing managers' index dropped to 46.8 in February, the lowest level since November 2009, from a reading of 48.7 the previous month.

Analysts had expected the index to rise to 49.0 last month.

The weak data added to expectations that the Bank of England will resume its quantitative easing program.

Elsewhere, the greenback was lower against the yen and the Swiss franc, with USD/JPY falling 0.30% to trade at 93.25, and with USD/CHF edging 0.22% lower to 0.9415.

The greenback was higher against its Canadian, Australian and New Zealand counterparts, with USD/CAD rising 0.29% to 1.0298, AUD/USD dropping 0.39% to 1.0163 and NZD/USD slipping 0.24% to 0.8232.

Earlier in the day, official data showed that building approvals in Australia fell unexpectedly in January, declining 2.4% after a 1.7% drop the previous month. Analysts had expected building approvals to rise 2.8% in January.

A separate report showed that company operating profits in Australia declined 1% in the fourth quarter, in line with expectations, after a 2.7% fall in the previous quarter.

In more positive news, data showed that job advertisements in Australia rose 3% in February, following a 0.6% increase the previous month.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.01% to 82.32.

The safe haven greenback also found support after USD85 billion of automatic spending cuts, known as the "sequestration", began on Friday as lawmakers could not agree on spending cuts and tax reform to tackle the country's budget deficit.

U.S President Barack Obama said on Sunday he could compromise with Republican lawmakers by cutting welfare entitlements such as Medicare. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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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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