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Forex - Dollar mixed on drop in jobless claims, hawkish ECB

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Forex Pros - The U.S. dollar was mixed against its major counterparts on Thursday, after a government report showed that U.S. jobless claims fell to a two-and a half-year low last week while a hawkish rate statement from the European Central Bank boosted the euro.

During European afternoon trade, the greenback was down against the euro, with EUR/USD surging 0.55% to hit 1.3846.

Earlier in the day, the ECB left its official cash rate unchanged at 1.00% in line with expectations.

In a statement following the banks policy setting meeting ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said risks to price developments in the single currency bloc were on the "upside" and that "strong vigilance" was warranted.

But the greenback was up against the pound, with GBP/USD sliding 0.13% to hit 1.6303.

Earlier Thursday, data showed that growth in the U.K. service sector slowed sharply in February, as companies recorded job losses for the fifth month running.

Elsewhere, the greenback advanced against the yen and the Swiss franc, with USD/JPY climbing 0.29% to hit 82.09 and USD/CHF rising 0.48% to hit 0.9283.

Earlier, a government report showed that retail sales in Switzerland declined unexpectedly in January, dropping for the second consecutive month.

Meanwhile, the greenback was up against its Canadian counterpart but down against its Australian and New Zealand cousins, with USD/CAD rising 0.12% to hit 0.9742, AUD/USD easing up 0.06% to hit 1.0175 and NZD/USD climbing 0.36% to hit 0.7458.

Earlier Thursday, official data showed that Australian home-building approvals slumped in January, recording the biggest decline since November 2002.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.27%.

In a report earlier, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of people claiming initial jobless benefits in the week ending February 26 unexpectedly dropped to a seasonally adjusted 368K, confounding expectations for an increase to 400K.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish data on service sector activity.

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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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