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US Jobs, Housing Data Push Dollar Higher Vs Euro

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Strong U.S. jobs and housing data pushed the dollar higher against the euro Thursday. Traders also sold the euro on weak economic data from Europe and fears that Cyprus won't be able to come up with a new bailout plan by next week's deadline.

The euro fell to $1.2899 in late trading Thursday from $1.2943 Wednesday.

The Labor Department said that average unemployment benefit applications over the past month fell to a five-year low. The National Association of Realtors said that sales of previously occupied homes rose in February to their fastest pace in more than three years.

In Europe the purchasing managers' index, a measure of business activity in the 17 countries that use the euro, fell to 46.5 in March from 47.9 the previous month.

Cyprus has to raise $7.5 billion to receive $12.9 billion from its European neighbors and the International Monetary Fund to bail out its troubled banking system. If it doesn't raise the money by Monday, the European Central Bank said it will cut off emergency support to the country's banks and let them collapse. That could force the country to leave the euro and could reignite the European debt crisis.

In other trading the British pound rose to $1.5170 from $1.5118.

The dollar rose to 0.9465 Swiss franc from 0.9436 Swiss franc.

The dollar fell to 95.01 Japanese yen from 95.89 Japanese yen and to 1.0244 Canadian dollars from 1.0251 Canadian dollars.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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