Currencies: Rising global growth expectations threaten dollar’s rally

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The dollar traded flat against its rivals Friday as shifting growth expectations threatened the dollar’s seven-month long rally.

Recent weakness in U.S. data — January retail-sales figures slumped for the second month, and the Labor Department reported a surprisingly high uptick in weekly jobless claims Thursday — contrasted with stronger-than-expected growth in the eurozone economy, and improved growth forecasts from the Bank of England, to weigh on the dollar for a second session.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.23% which measures the dollar’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six rival currencies, was up 0.1% to 94.21750 after sliding nearly 1% in the prior session.

“The recent moves in FX markets have caught many people off guard,” wrote Angus Campbell, senior analyst at FxPro. “Perhaps not to the extent of the [Swiss National Bank] floor removal a month ago, but the dollar strength of last year and the first part of January has come to a grinding halt.”

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Eurostat said eurozone gross domestic product expanded by 0.3% in the fourth quarter, sending European stocks to multi-year highs and helping to stabilize the euro around the $ 1.14 level.

European stocks were on track to close at their highest levels in years, as the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +0.56%  gained 2.25 points, or 0.6%, to 377.10, its highest level since 2007 and Germany’s DAX DAX, -0.22%  index briefly traded at an all-time high above 11,000.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected no change from the 0.2% growth seen in the third quarter.

The euro EURUSD, +0.14%  was at $ 1.1390, compared with $ 1.1407 Thursday. It was at 135.61 yen in recent trade, compared with ¥135.66. Against the Britain’s currency, the euro EURGBP, -0.05%  was buying 74.04 pence versus 74.13 pence on Thursday.

The pound traded at its highest level against the dollar since early January, fueled by the BOE’s suggestion on Thursday that it could raise interest rates in 2016.

The pound GBPUSD, +0.22%  traded at $ 1.5393, off an intraday high of $ 1.5422. It traded at $ 1.5388 Thursday.

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