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Dollar Fairly Steady Against Peers Despite Weak Economic Data

The U.S. dollar was fairly steady against major currencies on Thursday even as the latest batch of economic data turned out to be a bit disappointing.

The minutes of the Federal Reserve's January meeting that gave rise to prospects of a hike in interest rate sometime during the course of this year helped the greenback stay somewhat stronger against its peers.

The Dollar Index was up by about 0.11%, at 96.62, after advancing to 96.66 from a low of 96.36.

Against the British Pound Sterling, the dollar was up by about 0.12% with continued uncertainty about Brexit weighing on the U.K.'s currency. Against the Euro, the greenback was little changed, with an euro getting $1.1335.

The Japanese Yen was gaining about 0.13%, trading at 110.71 a dollar, after closing at 110.85 a dollar.

The Canadian dollar loonie was trading weak against the greenback with the latter gaining about 0.35% at 1.3224.

In economic news, a report from the Labor Department said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell more than expected in the week ended February 16th, dropping to 216,000, down 23,000 from previous week's unrevised level of 239,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 229,000.

According to data released by the Commerce Department, durable goods orders surged up by a less than expected 1.2% in December, after jumping by an upwardly revised 1% in November. Economists had expected durable goods orders to soar by 1.5%, compared to the 0.7% increase that had been reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that the Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity contracted for the first time since May of 2016.

The Philly Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity in the region tumbled to a negative 4.1 in February from a positive 17.0 in January, with a negative reading indicating contraction. The index had been expected to slip to 14.0.

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