The dollar was mixed against major currencies on Thursday as investors were waiting for the closely-watched U.S. non-farm employment report to be released on Friday.
Most analysts forecast that non-farm payrolls will continue falling, but with a slower pace. The unemployment is expected to rise slightly.
Should the non-farm job data come out to be much worse or better than expectations, the dollar will strengthen, some analysts said. A weak job report will hurt risk appetite and boost safety demand for the U.S. currency. A strong report may reduce correlation between the dollar and risk sentiment, supporting investors' confidence in the greenback.
U.S. initial claims for jobless benefits declined to 570,000 last week, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. Continuing jobless claims rose to 6.234 million, and the four-week average of initial claims edged up to 571,000. The report showed that the labor market, which remains very weak, is stabilizing in slow paces.
The Institute of Supply Management reported that its index of U.S. service sector rose 2 points to 48.4 in August, roughly in line with expectations. The sub-index of business activity rose 5.2 points to 51.3, higher than the contraction/expansion threshold for the first time since September 2008.
New orders index increased slightly, and new export orders index jumped 6.5 points. The price paid index soared by 21.8 points to 63.1. Export demand for U.S. service industry is picking up, while domestic orders remain weak, analysts said.