CURRENCIES: Dollar Strengthens After Solid Jobs Report, Looks Set For Weekly Gains

By Sara Sjolin and Anora Mahmudova, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Pound slides after poor U.K. data

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The U.S. dollar on Friday held on to modest gains against its main rivals, after a brief slip, following an upbeat report on jobs created in June, which should bolster the Federal Reserve's efforts to follow through with buck-boosting monetary policy.

The U.S. economy added 222,000 jobs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-adds-222000-jobs-in-june-as-hiring-surges-2017-07-07)last month, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4% as more workers entering the job market, and figures for April and May were increased, the closely watched monthly report from the Labor Department showed.

One source of weakness was lackluster wage inflation, which briefly caused greenback to slip immediately after the labor-market report was released, according to Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange.

Hourly wages have advanced a modest 2.5% in the past 12 months, up a notch from the prior month but still well below the usual gains at this late stage of an expansion.

"The jobs report paints a mixed picture of the labor market, with solid headline numbers and weak wage-growth rate. The reaction in the dollar reflects the market's mild skepticism about the Fed's outlook about inflation and its rates policy," said Esiner.

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Still, traders bid up the dollar sending ICE Dollar Index 0.3% higher to 96.075. The index was on track for a 0.5% weekly gain.

Early dollar moves followed Thursday's downbeat session, when a "taper tantrum" in Europe pushed bond yields and the euro sharply higher amid hawkish talk from global central bankers signaling a desire to end easy-money polices. Recent meeting minutes from the European Central Bank released early Thursday underscored that hawkish pivot.

Read: Central banks are now closer to getting it wrong, Ray Dalio says (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/lets-thank-central-banks-but-theyre-closer-to-getting-it-wrong-now-ray-dalio-says-2017-07-07)

The euro pulled back, fetching $1.1396, compared with $1.1424 late Thursday in New York. The euro weakened against the dollar over the week.

The pound slid to $1.2885 from $1.2970 on Thursday, after disappointing U.K. manufacturing data. It is on track to record a 1.2% loss over the week.

Dollar-yen gained, with the dollar buying Yen113.91, up from Yen113.22 on Thursday. The dollar put in a solid performance this week, gaining 1.4% against the Japanese counterpart.

In other currency pairs, Canadian dollar rose 0.7% against he greenback after country's official jobs report came in above expectations. Canada 45,300 jobs last month, according to Statistics Canada, far above the consensus estimate of 10,000. Canadian dollar traded at C$1.2893, compared with C$1.2980.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 07, 2017 09:30 ET (13:30 GMT)