Dollar Gains Over Peers As Virus Fears Rise

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The U.S. dollar stayed largely positive against peers on Friday as risk sentiment weakened after President Donald Trump said that he and his wife tested positive for Covid-19.

France, Germany and Spain have all been reporting a surge in new coronavirus cases, and authorities in several countries are reportedly focusing on reining in nightlife to curb a marked rebound in virus infections.

Data from the Labor Department showed job growth in the U.S. slowed by much more than expected in the month of December, with non-farm payroll employment rising by 661,000 jobs, well short of an expected increase of 850,000 jobs. In August, non-farm payroll employment spiked by an upwardly revised 1.489 million jobs.

Despite the weaker than expected job growth, the report said the unemployment rate slid to 7.9% in September from 8.4% in August. The unemployment rate was expected to dip to 8.2%.

According to a report released by the Commerce Department today, factory orders rose by 0.7% in August after soaring by an upwardly revised 6.5% in July. Economists had expected orders to jump by 1% compared to the 6.4% spike originally reported for the previous month.

The report said orders for durable goods increased by 0.5%, while orders for non-durable goods climbed by 0.8%.

Meanwhile, revised data released by the University of Michigan showed consumer sentiment in the U.S. improved by more than previously estimated in the month of September, with the index upwardly revised to 80.4 from the preliminary reading of 78.9. Economists had expected the index to be upwardly revised to 79.0.

Against the Euro, the dollar was stronger by nearly 0.3%, trading at $1.715 per unit of euro. In early Asian session, the dollar was trading at $1.1697. Eurozone consumer prices decreased 0.3% on a yearly basis, following a 0.2% drop in August, data from Eurostat showed. Prices were expected to fall again by 0.2%. The 0.2% decrease in August was the first drop since May 2016.

The Pound Sterling firmed up to $1.2941 a unit, rising from $1.2887 Thursday evening.

The Yen was stronger at 105.38 a dollar, gaining from previous close of 105.55 a dollar.

The Aussie was weak more than 0.3% with the Aussie-Dollar pair at 0.7161 compared with 0.7185 on Thursday.

The Swiss franc weakened to 0.9206 a dollar, giving up about 0.2%, while the Loonie slipped to C$1.3302 from previous close of C$1.3289 a dollar.

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