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Dollar pushes higher on U.S. jobless data, Greece concerns

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Shutterstock photo - - The dollar pushed higher against the other major currencies on Thursday, supported by upbeat U.S. jobless claims data and as renewed concerns over Greece's debt dampened market sentiment.

In a report, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending February 14 decreased by 21,000 to 283,000 from the previous week's total of 304,000.

Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to fall by 11,000 to 293,000 last week.

The dollar had weakened on Wednesday after the minutes of the Fed's January meeting showed that policymakers expressed concern that raising interest rates too soon could dampen the U.S. economic recovery.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.30% to 94.42.

The euro slipped lower against the dollar, with EUR/USD down 0.11% to 1.1384 following reports that Germany rejected a proposed bailout extension request from Greece.

The Greek request included a pledge to maintain "fiscal balance" for a six-month period, in order to give it time to reach a new agreement on growth over the next four years with its partners in the euro zone, Reuters reported.

But German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said it was "not a substantial proposal for a solution" and did not meet the criteria agreed on at the euro group meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Monday.

The European Commission had earlier welcomed the bailout extension request, saying it could pave the way for compromise and stability in the euro zone.

Earlier Thursday, the minutes of the European Central Bank's January meetin showed that the Governing Council "broadly shared" the view that quantitative easing was needed.

The pound also edged lower against the dollar, with GBP/USD down 0.12% to 1.5417.

The Confederation of British Industry earlier reported that its index of industrial order expectations increased by 6.0 points to a reading of 10.0 this month from January's reading of 4.0. Analysts had expected the index to rise by 2.0 points to 6.0 in February.

Elsewhere, USD/JPY rose 0.27% to 119.09, while USD/CHF advanced 0.56% to 0.9476.

The Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars were broadly weaker, with AUD/USD shedding 0.33% to 0.7784 and NZD/USD sliding 0.34% to 0.7518, while USD/CAD climbed 0.64% to 1.2531.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish a report on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region. 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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