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Forex - Dollar mixed in Asia with all eyes on Fed Chair Janet Yellen

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Shutterstock photo - - The dollar was mixed in early Asian trade on Friday with no major data releases in the region and as markets primed for remarks by Fed Chair Janet Yellen later in the day.

USD/JPY was flat at 103.85 along with EUR/USD at 1.3820, while AUD/USD held at 0.9306, up 0.03%.

Overnight, the dollar traded lower against most major currencies despite a fresh crop of otherwise bullish data hitting the wire, as many investors sold the greenback for profits to await Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday.

The Federal Reserve released the minutes of its July policy meeting on Wednesday, and the document revealed that interest rates could come sooner rather than later if the labor market continues to recover, which initially bolstered the dollar.

Profit taking sent the greenback edging lower on Thursday, as many investors bet Fed Chair Janet Yellen will provide dovish words in a Jackson Hole speech on Friday to complement the hawkish minutes in order to convey to markets that even though rates will rise, monetary authorities will make sure they do so gradually.

Upbeat U.S. data took a back seat to Yellen expectations in late-morning trading on Thursday.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index topped a three-year high of 28.0 this month from July's 23.9 reading. 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.

Also on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Aug. 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.

Meanwhile in Europe, data showed that activity in the euro zone's manufacturing sector slowed to a 13-month low in August, with the euro zone manufacturing PMI down to 50.8 from 51.8 in July. Economists had forecast a decline to 51.3.

The region's services PMI slid to 53.5 from 54.2 in July, in line with forecasts.

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

The US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was flat at 82.21. 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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