NEW YORK (MarketWatch)—The dollar gained ground against the yen and the euro on Monday, with analysts saying the advance was amplified by thinner trading in a holiday-shortened week.
The dollar USDJPY, -0.08% was at ¥120.06, compared with ¥119.11 late Friday in New York. The euro EURUSD, -0.86% was down 0.51% versus the greenback at $ 1.0834 from $ 1.0891 Friday.
The ICE U.S. dollar index DXY, +0.64% a measure of the buck against a basket of six major currencies, ended up about 0.6% at 97.98.
“Thinner liquidity in a shortened week is exaggerating the firmer USD tone in FX markets today,” said RBC Capital Markets analysts in a note.
Investors continued to mull over Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s speech late Friday, when she said rate hikes are coming, but not too many of them.
“It’s obvious Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen is not seeing a higher dollar as an obstacle for going ahead with a rate increase,” said Nomura Securities chief FX strategist Yunosuke Ikeda. This view may accelerate gains in the dollar if it becomes the market consensus, he added.
Other analysts said market participants may avoid taking strong positions ahead of Friday’s U.S. jobs report, which will come out when many markets will be closed for Good Friday. See: When do markets close for Good Friday?
“All in all, the likely scenario this week is for more dollar consolidation, unless we get a significant surprise in the US employment report,” said a Société Générale note on FX strategy. “We expect the higher dollar trend to reassert itself medium-term, but for now range trading is likely to predominate.”
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In U.S. economic news on Monday, the Commerce Department said consumer spending rose a weaker-than-expected 0.1% last month, though personal incomes in February rose a better-than-anticipated 0.4%. In addition, pending home sales in February reached their highest level since June 2013.