Forexpros - The U.S. dollar pared gains against the yen in volatile trade on Thursday, pulling back from close to a four-month low following the release of better-than-expected U.S. data on first time jobless claims.
USD/JPY pulled back from 76.29, the lowest since August 1, to hit 76.75 during U.S. morning trade, still down 0.12% on the day.
The pair was likely to find support at 76.12, the low of March 16 and resistance at 77.30, Wednesday's high.
The U.S. Department of Labor said earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending August 5 fell by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 395,000, outstripping expectations for a decline to 401,000.
The previous week's figure was revised up to 402,000 from 400,000.
A separate report showed that the U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly to USD53.1 billion in June, the largest deficit in almost three years
The greenback spiked higher against the yen earlier before falling back, sparking speculation that the Bank of Japan stepped in to curb the yen's recent sharp gains.
However, an official from the country's Ministry of Finance declined to comment on the sudden movement in the pair and whether the government was intervening in the market.
Traders added that the BoJ conducted a foreign-exchange rate check Thursday, which triggered the yen's slide.
The yen's ongoing strength prompted Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda to sharpen his verbal warnings to markets, saying "We are keeping an extremely close watch on currency moves, while working closely with the global community."
Elsewhere, the yen was also higher against the euro, with EUR/JPY easing down 0.02% to hit 108.94.
European equities were significantly off their earlier highs, as fears over the region's ongoing sovereign debt crisis continued to weigh on sentiment.
Shares in major French lenders erased gains from earlier in the session, to trade sharply lower. Societe Generale, which at one point saw shares trade 5.5% higher, tumbled 8%.