Dollar slides after weak US consumer report

The dollar retreated for the second straight day Friday following the release of disappointing US consumer confidence data.

At 2100 GMT, the euro was valued at $1.3075 compared with $1.3003 at the same time Thursday.

The dollar fell to 95.26 yen from 96.08 yen, while the euro bought 124.61 yen, down from 124.91 yen a day earlier.

The weak performance of the dollar came after a University of Michigan consumer confidence index showed a drop to 71.8 in early March from 77.6 in February.

The consumer confidence data "shocked the market" amid concerns that the federal spending cuts and the hike in the payroll tax "finally hit the worker's paycheck," said Boris Schlossberg of BK Asset Management.

The euro gained further support after a European Union summit suggested that German Chancellor Angel Merkel would not oppose efforts by France and Italy to focus on growth and not just austerity.

"European leaders endorsed 'structural' budget assessments at their summit, suggesting a slight lessening in the focus on austerity," said Nick Bennenbroek, head of currency strategy at Wells Fargo Bank.

The rise in the euro "is very much reflective of this optimism by investors that the region could begin to recover from the severe contraction that has plagued it since Q4 of last year," Schlossberg added.

The dollar also weakened against the pound, which bought $1.5129, up from $1.5078 late Thursday, and fell to 0.9377 Swiss franc from 0.9470 franc.

But David Song, currency analyst at DailyFX, said the dollar's retreat may only be temporary.

Citing "increasingly upbeat" sentiment about the US economy, Song said the Federal Reserve may soon adopt a "more hawkish tone for monetary policy."