News of stronger-than-expected retail sales helped the greenback rally against the yen and the euro Friday.

The dollar was buying 117.5 Japanese yen, up from 117.2 yen late Thursday. Euros were trading at $1.4162, down from $1.4187 a day earlier.

The CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust ( FXY) exchange-traded fund, which tracks the value of the Japanese currency, was slipping 0.3%. The CurrencyShares Euro Trust Currency ( FXE), which tracks the value of Europe's major currency, was inching lower, off 0.1% recently.

The government report on retail sales contributed to the strength in the U.S. currency. "Retail sales is a key data point for determining personal consumption," says David Powell, currency strategist at IDEAglobal in New York.

Because consumption makes up about 70% of the overall U.S. economy, economists tend to pay close attention when retail sales figures are released, he explains.

"Personal consumption has been one of the weakest areas of the economy," Powell says.

Elsewhere in the foreign exchange market, the British pound was gaining against the dollar. One pound would buy $2.0334, up marginally from $2.0317 previously.

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