Dollar gains versus rivals

By Blake Ellis, contributing writer

NEW YORK ( -- The dollar rose against major currencies on Tuesday after an unexpected surge in existing home sales.

Existing home sales in November rose 7.4% to an annual rate of 6.54 million units, the highest level since February 2007, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. Economists surveyed by had predicted a mere 2.5% increase.

This jump vied with earlier news from the Commerce Department that gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the country's economic activity, rose only 2.2% in the third quarter, below the 2.7% growth rate predicted by economists surveyed by and much less than the 3.5% increase the government initially reported in October.

"Housing data was a bit better than we expected," said Brian Dolan, a chief currency strategist at "The numbers showed us that the U.S. outlook is improving, and the housing market is showing some signs of life."

The GDP reading didn't daunt investors, in his view.

"Third-quarter GDP is pretty much being shrugged off and ignored for now because it's basically ancient history at this point, since we're now at end of the fourth quarter," he said.

The dollar edged up 0.1% against the euro to $1.425. The greenback rose 0.3% against the British pound to $1.597 and was up 0.7% against the yen to ¥91.82.

The buck rose against rivals on Monday as well, following the stock market higher after the health care bill passed a key vote in the Senate. To top of page

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