Dollar off lows on bullish initial jobless claims data

The dollar traded above break-even Thursday, buoyed by bullish initial jobless claims data, lifting expectations that the economy will rebound in the second-quarter but a widening of the trade balance limited upside momentum.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose by 0.09% to 97.04 by 12:51 EDT.

Investors mulled over a mixed bag of economic data, as initial jobless claims fell more than expected, offsetting a larger than expected rise in the trade deficit, which helped push the dollar in positive territory.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims decreased by 4,000 to 234,000 in the week ended May 18.

Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to rise to 238,000 from 233,000.

The goods trade gap – the difference in value between imported and exported goods – widened to $67.6 billion in April from $65.1 billion in March, the Census Bureau said in its advanced report.

The stronger labor market data came a day after the release of the Federal Reserve’s minutes to its May meeting, pushed the dollar to fresh six-month lows, as investors parsed somewhat dovish comments from Fed members concerning future rate hikes.

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