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Forex - Dollar edges lower as U.S. data lifts sentiment

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Shutterstock photo - - The dollar edged lower against the other major currencies on Thursday, as a string of strong U.S. economic reports lifted market sentiment and investors turned their attention to a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen in Jackson Hole on Friday.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index improved to a more than three-year high of 28.0 this month from July's reading of 23.9. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 19.2 in July.

Separately, market research group Markit said that its preliminary U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers' index increased to a four-year high of 58.0 this month from a final reading of 55.8 in July. Analysts had expected the index to ease down to 55.7 in August.

Data also showed that U.S. existing home sales increased 2.4% to 5.15 million units last month from 5.03 million in June. Analysts had expected existing home sales to dip 0.4% to 5.02 million units in July.

The reports came after the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending August 16 decreased by 14,000 to 298,000 from the previous week's revised total of 312,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 12,000 to 300,000 last week.

EUR/USD edged up 0.11% to 1.3274, but the single currency remained within close distance of an 11-month low after data showed that activity in the euro zone's manufacturing sector slowed to a 13 month low in August.

Activity in Germany's factor sector slowed but remained solid, while manufacturing activity in France contracted for a sixth successive month.

The pound remained close to four-and-a-half month lows, with GBP/USD at 1.6590 after official data showed that U.K. retail sales rose 0.1% in July, disappointing expectations for an increase of 0.4%.

The dollar held steady near four-and-a-half month highs against the yen, with USD/JPY at 103.75, while USD/CHF slipped 0.14% to 0.9122.

Data earlier showed that manufacturing activity in Japan accelerated in August, indicating that the economy is stabilizing after a sharp contraction in the second quarter, due to a sales tax hike.

In Switzerland, official data earlier showed that the trade surplus widened more than expected to 3.98 billion Swiss francs last month.

Meanwhile, AUD/USD added 0.15% to 0.9301 and NZD/USD rose 0.26% to 0.8394, while USD/CAD slipped 0.16% to 1.0952.

The export-related currencies came under pressure after a report showed that the preliminary reading of China's HSBC manufacturing index fell to a three month low of 50.3 in August from 51.7 in July and well short of forecasts for 51.5.

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.06% at 82.24, still close to the highest level since September. 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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