Dollar slips vs. euro

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter

NEW YORK ( -- The dollar was mostly lower Friday as investors turned to riskier assets following mixed U.S. economic data.

What prices are doing: The dollar fell 0.5% against the euro to $1.3611, and slipped 0.3% against the yen to ¥88.83. The buck edged up 0.1% versus the British pound to $1.5252.

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The dollar was higher against the euro and pound Thursday as concerns over Greece's debt crisis resurfaced, prompting investors to turn to the dollar for its safe haven appeal. The currency was lower against the yen Thursday, which also tends to strengthen on risk aversion.

The greenback was mostly higher throughout the week, based on downbeat data and comments from the Federal Reserve reiterating that interest rates will stay low for some time.

What's moving the market: Investors' appetite for risk returned Friday, as they bid for the higher-yielding euro over the dollar.

Their optimism was supported the government's revision of fourth-quarter economic growth, which accelerated to an annual rate of 5.9% from an initial reading of 5.7%. Economists had expected the nation's gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, to hold steady.

Strong business activity also boosted investors' confidence in a U.S. economic recovery. The Chicago PMI, the regional report on manufacturing, rose to 62.6 in February from 61.5 a month earlier. Economists surveyed by expected the index to slip.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors reported that home resales fell 7.2% in February. The drop surprised analysts, who expected existing home sales to rise slightly.

Month-end requirements to balance portfolios were also in play, as they triggered traders to buy and sell certain currencies despite market drivers.

What analysts are saying: "We're going to see risk-appetite turn on and off today despite the positive signs with U.S. business activity growing," said Dean Popplewell, chief currency strategist at online foreign exchange trading platform Oanda.

He added that since the last trading day of the month is an anomaly because portfolio managers need to make adjustments in their investments.

"There's no fundamental reason why there's a spike in the euro. Overall sentiment suggests the euro should be lower, with Greece's debt woes at the forefront," Popplewell said.

For the remainder of the quarter, he thinks the euro will spiral downward, which will benefit the dollar.  To top of page

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