By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar failed to rally on Friday against a basket of major currencies after a mixed U.S. jobs report stoked uncertainty over the timing of Federal Reserve rate hikes, but gains against the euro helped the currency edge higher.
U.S. Labor Department data showed nonfarm payrolls increased 223,000 last month, while the unemployment rate dropped to a near seven-year low of 5.4 percent. March payrolls, however, were revised to show only 85,000 jobs were created, the smallest since June 2012.
While the dollar initially rallied against a basket of major currencies after the data, with the euro slipping below $1.12 to a session low of $1.1179, it gave back most of its gains as traders digested negative details of the jobs report.
“It pretty much secured the idea that it would take some extremely strong data to have the Fed even contemplate moving in June,” said Alan Ruskin, global head of currency strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York, on the jobs report.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies, was set to post its fourth straight week of losses.
The U.S. nonfarm payrolls report has been closely watched for hints on how soon the Fed might be prepared to raise interest rates from rock-bottom levels. A rate hike will likely boost the dollar by driving investment flows into the United States.
The euro’s weakness against the dollar marked its second straight session of losses after hitting a 10-1/2 week high of $1.1392 early on Thursday, although it was still set for its fourth straight week of gains against the greenback.
“After a move like we saw on the euro … it’s not surprising that we saw some profit-taking and retracement back to $1.12,” said Ashley Groves, vice president of key accounts at AFEX in New York.
The dollar index <.DXY> was last up 0.16 percent at 94.783. The euro was last down 0.51 percent against the dollar at $1.12080 <EUR=EBS>. The dollar was last flat against the Japanese yen at 119.745 yen <JPY=EBS>, and up 1.09 percent against the Swiss franc at 0.93150 franc <CHF=EBS>.
The sterling was last up 1.35 percent against the dollar at $1.5450, not far from a more than 10-week high against the greenback of $1.5522 <GBP=> after Prime Minister David Cameron won an election victory in Britain.
(Additional reporting by Anirban Nag in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum)