Investing.com - The pound ended Friday's session slightly lower against the dollar in choppy trade after data showed that the U.S. economy added far more jobs than expected last month, but also indicated weak earnings growth and a drop in labor force participation.
GBP/USD fell to session lows of 1.6819, before trimming back losses to settle at 1.6874, just 0.11% lower for the day. For the week, the pair gained 0.39%.
Cable was likely to find support at 1.6819 and resistance at 1.6918, the previous session's high and the strongest since August 2009.
The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, well above expectations for jobs growth of 210,000. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a five and a half year low of 6.3%, compared to expectations for 6.6%.
The report also showed that the labor force participation rate, which measures the proportion of people either working or looking for work, fell to 62.8% from 63.2% in March. Meanwhile, average wage growth edged down in April from the same month a year earlier, dampening the medium term inflation outlook.
Earlier Friday, data showed that the U.K. construction purchasing managers' index came in at 60.8, down from March's reading of 62.5. It was the weakest reading since October 2013, but pointed to very solid growth in the sector.
Sterling rose to almost five year highs against the dollar on Thursday after data showed that manufacturing activity in the U.K. expanded at the fastest rate in five months in April, bolstering the outlook for the wider recovery.
A recent string of upbeat reports about the U.K. economy has raised expectations the Bank of England could raise borrowing costs ahead of other central banks.
The pound received an additional boost after preliminary data showed that U.S. gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of just 0.1% in the first quarter, well below forecasts for an expansion of 1.2%.
Despite the sharp slowdown in growth the Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would reduce its bond purchases to $45 billion a month. The Fed also said interest rates would remain on hold at record lows for a "considerable time" after the bond-buying program ends later this year.
The U.S. central bank acknowledged that first quarter growth was far weaker than expected, but added that growth had started to pick up in recent weeks.
In the week ahead, investors will be looking ahead to Monday's report on U.S. service sector activity and Wednesday's testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen on monetary policy and the economy. U.K. data on service sector growth and a rate review by the Bank of England will also be in focus.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.
Monday, May 5
Markets in the U.K. are to remain closed for the May Day holiday.
In the U.S., the Institute of Supply Management is to publish a report on service sector activity.
Tuesday, May 6
The U.K. is to publish what will be a closely watched report on service sector growth.
The U.S. is to release data on the trade balance, the difference in value between imports and exports.
Wednesday, May 7
Fed Chair Janet Yellen is to testify before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, in Washington.
Thursday, May 8
The U.S. is to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims.
Friday, May 9
The U.K. is to round up the week with data on manufacturing and industrial production, as well as a report on the trade balance.
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