Daily Afternoon Report 23.04.2015

Daily Afternoon Report 23.04.2015
The dollar was little changed against a basket of other major currencies on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. jobless claims rose unex-pectedly last week and as markets still eyed the release of an additional report on U.S. new home sales. In a report, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending April 18 increased by 1,000 to 295,000 from the previous week’s total of 294,000. Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to fall by 4,000 to 290,000 last week. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.09% to 98.15. EUR/USD rose 0.30% to 1.0759. The single currency showed little reaction to a report by market research group Markit saying that the euro zone’s composite purchasing managers’ index, which includes manufacturing and services activity, fell to 53.5 this month from 54.0 in March, compared to expectations for a rise to 54.4. Germany’s manufacturing PMI ticked down to 54.2 this month from a reading of 55.4 in March, while the services PMI slipped to 54.4 in April from 55.4 the previous month. Markit also said that France’s manufacturing PMI fell to 48.4 this month from 48.8 in March, while the services PMI slipped to 50.8 in April from a reading of 52.4 the previous month. Earlier Thursday, another report showed that Spain’s unemployment rate rose to 23.8% in the first quarter from 23.7% in the three months to December. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to slip to 23.6% in the last quarter. The pound remained lower, with GBP/USD down 0.15% to 1.5015. The Office for National Statistics earlier said that U.K. retail sales fell 0.5% last month, compared to expectations for a 0.4% rise. Year-on-year, U.K. retail sales rose 4.2% in March, disappointing expectations for a 5.4% gain. Core retail sales, which exclude automobiles and fuel, ticked up 0.2% last month, less than the expected 0.4% increase. A separate report showed that U.K. public sector net borrowing fell to £6.74 billion in March from a revised £4.80 billion in February. Analysts had expected public sector net borrowing to rise to £7.00 billion last month. Elsewhere, the dollar was fractionally higher against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.09% to 120.02 and lower against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF declining 0.68% to 0.9647. The Australian and New Zealand dollars were weaker, with AUD/USD sliding 0.43% to 0.7722 and NZD/USD tumbling 1.59% to 0.7544. The export-related currencies were hit after data earlier showed that China’s HSBC (LONDON:HSBA) flash manufacturing purchasing managers’ index slipped to 49.2 in April from March’s final reading of 49.6, shrinking for the third consecutive month. Meanwhile, USD/CAD held steady at 1.2242.

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