TORONTO - The Canadian dollar was slightly lower Thursday following the release of improved weekly jobless claims numbers from the United States.
The loonie was down 0.03 of a cent to 96.79 cents US shortly near midday, recovering most of the decline made earlier in the session.
The U.S. Labor Department said the number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 15,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 320,000, the lowest since October 2007 — a sign of dwindling layoffs and steady, if modest, job growth.
The less volatile four-week average fell 4,000 to 332,000, the fewest since November 2007 and the fifth straight decline.
The jobs data has been a key factor in helping the U.S. dollar rebound against other major currencies, said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets.
Oil prices will also be in focus, he added.
"Crude oil could also be active again today as unrest in Egypt renews supply concerns," Cieszynski said in a note.
The September crude contract ahead 77 cents to US$107.62 a barrel.
December gold bullion increased $2.90 to US$1,336.30 an ounce. September copper decreased 2.5 cents to US$3.32 a pound.