The dollar is turning in a mixed performance against its major rivals Friday afternoon. The U.S. currency is rising against the British pound, falling against the Japanese Yen and nearly flat in comparison to the Euro.
Investors were left to process a number of U.S. economic reports this morning, the results of which were mixed. The ISM manufacturing report came in better than expected and consumer sentiment fell by less than previously estimated. Meanwhile, construction spending took an unexpected turn lower and the U.S. unemployment rate ticked slightly higher despite stronger than expected employment growth.
While employment in the U.S. increased by slightly more than expected in the month of March, a report released by the Labor Department on Friday also showed an uptick in the unemployment rate as more people entered the workforce.
The report said non-farm payroll employment climbed by 215,000 jobs in March after jumping by an upwardly revised 245,000 in February. Economists had expected an increase of about 210,000 jobs compared to the addition of 242,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
As mentioned above, the Labor Department also said the unemployment rate inched up to 5.0 percent in March from 4.9 percent in February. The unemployment rate had been expected to remain unchanged.
After reporting contractions in U.S. manufacturing activity for five straight months, the Institute for Supply Management released a report on Friday showing that activity in the sector expanded at a faster than expected rate in March.
The ISM said its purchasing managers index climbed to 51.8 in March from 49.5 in February, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in the manufacturing sector. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 50.5.
While the University of Michigan released a report on Friday showing an upward revision to its U.S. consumer sentiment index for March, the revised reading still indicated a deterioration compared to the previous month.
The report said the final reading on the consumer sentiment index for March came in at 91.0 compared to the preliminary reading of 90.0. The upwardly revised reading came roughly in line with economist estimates but was still down from the final February reading of 91.7.
Primarily reflecting a steep drop in spending on public construction, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing an unexpected decrease in total U.S. construction spending in the month of February.
The report said construction spending fell 0.5 percent to an annual rate of $1.144 trillion in February after jumping 2.1 percent to a revised $1.150 trillion in January. The pullback came as a surprise to economists, who had expected construction spending to inch up by about 0.2 percent.
The dollar slipped to an early low of $1.1437 against the Euro Friday, before rising to a high of $1.1332. The U.S. currency has since eased back to around $1.1390, nearly unchanged for the day.
Eurozone manufacturing growth improved more than initially estimated in March, final data from Markit showed Friday. The factory Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 51.6 in March from 51.2 in February and above the flash score of 51.4.
The buck rose to a 4-session high of $1.4170 against the pound sterling Friday, but has since slipped back to around $1.4210.
British manufacturing growth improved less-than-expected in March, though slightly, survey figures from Markit Economic showed Friday. The Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing rose to 51.0 in March from February’s 34-month low of 50.8. Economists had expected the index to climb to 51.2.
U.K. house price growth accelerated more than expected in March, data from the Nationwide Building Society showed Friday. House prices climbed 5.7 percent year-on-year in March, faster than February’s 4.8 percent growth and the expected rise of 5.1 percent. This was the fastest growth since January 2015, when prices climbed 6.8 percent.
The greenback has slipped to over a 1-week low of Y111.810 Friday afternoon, from a high of around Y112.525.
An index measuring business sentiment in Japan declined in the first quarter of 2016, according to the latest results from the Bank of Japan’s Tankan business survey.
The large manufacturers’ index came in with a score of 6 for the first three months of the year. This was down sharply from the reading of 12 recorded for the fourth quarter. Economists had expected a slight decline, but the drop was far more steep than predicted.
Japan’s manufacturing activity deteriorated for the first time in eleven months in March, as output and new orders fell at sharper rates, the latest survey data from Markit Economics showed Friday. The Markit/ Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, fell to 49.1 in March, in line with the preliminary data, from 50.1 in February.