Dollar mixed after Obama speech

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter

NEW YORK ( -- The dollar was mixed Thursday as traders mulled President Obama's pledge to create jobs and ongoing concerns about global economic growth.

What prices are doing. The dollar was up 0.1% versus the euro to $1.4008 and gained 0.3% against the Japanese yen to ¥90.25. But the dollar fell 0.4% versus the U.K. pound to $1.6242.

What's moving the market: Obama said in his State of the Union address Wednesday that jobs were his administration's "No. 1 focus in 2010." The president's plan to spur job growth will revolve around tax incentives for small businesses.

The speech, which was focused primarily on the economy, helped support demand for more risky assets, such as stocks, and boosted the higher yielding euro.

"Risk appetite managed to stabilize on Thursday with some reassurance following Obama's State of the Union address," analysts at Sucden Financial wrote in a research report.

Traders will look to reports on durable goods orders and weekly jobless claims for signs the U.S. economy is continuing to slowly recover. Both reports are due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

December durable goods orders are expected to have risen 2% in the month versus a gain of 0.2% in the previous month, according to a consensus of economists surveyed by

The number of Americans filing first time claims for unemployment benefits is expected to have fallen to 450,000 from 482,000 the week before.

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday the economic recovery was gaining strength and voted to hold interest rates steady near zero percent, as expected.

Meanwhile, the pound continued to strengthen after a Bank of England official suggested that there could be an upward revision to the most recent reading on U.K. gross domestic product.

But the euro remained under pressure amid ongoing concerns that the credit problems facing Greece and Portugal could signal more economic pain in Europe.

What analysts are saying: "Underlying confidence in the Euro-zone economy remained weak with further unease over the debt situation within Greece and further speculation that pressures could spread to other countries with some rumours of a forthcoming debt-rating downgrade for Portugal," Sucden Financial said in a report. To top of page

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