By Richard Leong
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar was little changed against a basket of currencies on Thursday as low U.S. bond yields offset in-line data on domestic jobless claims and home prices, keeping it close to the one-month peak it reached earlier this week.
The yen garnered some safe-haven demand on early weakness on Wall Street and European stock markets.
The Norwegian crown and the New Zealand dollar were the notable gainers in a quiet trading session after their countries’ central banks showed confidence in their economic outlook.
Among emerging currencies, the Mexican peso <MXN=D2> jumped 1 percent after policy-makers raised rates by a quarter point to 7 percent following the Fed’s rate hike last week.
The dollar had strengthened as several Fed officials since last week have supported the notion of possibly another rate increase by year-end despite a recent softening of inflation. The bounce faded as doubts crept in as to whether the modest current economic expansion warrants further rate increases.
“The market has not bought into the Fed’s hawkish rhetoric,” said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management in New York. “The market is dubious about U.S. growth in the second half of the year.”
The U.S. bond market has reflected traders’ doubts as the yield curve on Wednesday flattened to levels not seen in nearly a decade.
“I don’t see a lot of pressure for yields to go up,” said Humberto Garcia, head of global asset allocation at Leumi Investment Services Inc in New York.
The yield curve stabilized on Thursday in reaction to reports showing a tightening labor market and home prices that appreciated in April more than what traders expected.
An index that tracks the dollar against six major currencies <.DXY> was flat at 97.571. It reached an one-month high of 97.871 on Tuesday.
The euro <EUR=> was 0.2 percent lower at $1.1149, while the dollar was fractionally weaker at 111.32 yen <JPY=>.
The yen was 0.2 percent firmer against the euro at 124.10 yen <EURJPY=>, with the pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> ending unchanged on the day.
The Dow <.DJI> and S&P 500 <.SPX> were modestly higher.
Among other currencies, the Norwegian crown rose after Norway’s central bank lifted its rate forecasts for 2017 and 2018 and said a rate cut was no longer likely.
It was 0.4 percent higher at 8.4956 crowns per dollar <NOK=> and up 0.6 percent at 9.4690 crowns per euro <EURNOK=D4>.
The kiwi <NZD=D4> rose 0.6 percent to $0.7266 after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand rang several upbeat notes in its outlook for growth and impact of current exchange rates.
(Additional reporting by Patrick Graham, Ritvik Carvalho in London; editing by Pritha Sarkar and Marguerita Choy)