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Dollar seesaws after strong US jobs, factory data

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The U.S. dollar traded in a back-and-forth range on Friday against a basket of currencies from Thursday's more than five-month lows after stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs and factory data boosted expectations for a less dovish Federal Reserve.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 215,000 last month, the Labor Department said, beating economists' expectations for 205,000 according to a Reuters poll. Average hourly earnings increased 7 cents, while the unemployment rate rose to 5.0 percent from an eight-year low of 4.9 percent.

The data came after the greenback's worst quarterly percentage loss in more than five years against a basket of major currencies, partly on Fed Chair Janet Yellen's dovish comments Tuesday that the central bank should proceed "cautiously" on raising rates.

"It's certainly not the kind of data that argues for the Fed to become even more dovish, and in that sense, it argues for the dollar's lossesto slow," said Shahab Jalinoos, global head of FX strategy at Credit Suisse in New York.

The dollar's gains accelerated after Institute for Supply Management (ISM) data showing its index of national factory activity rose to 51.8 from 49.5 the month before, above expectations of 50.7 from a Reuters poll of economists.

"We do know that the threshold for Yellen to act is very high, but as we get more pieces of the puzzle, the market is taking note," said Axel Merk, chief investment officer of Palo Alto, California-based Merk Investments, on the strength in the dollar after the U.S. jobs and manufacturing data.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was last flat after hitting a session low of 94.334 before the U.S. data. The index had traded higher following the jobs report release.

The index fell more than 4 percent in the first quarter.

The euro, which hit its highest level in five and a half months of $1.1437 before the U.S. jobs and manufacturing data, turned negative against the greenback and hit a session low of $1.1335 after the data, before holding 0.1 percent higher.

The dollar was last down 0.8 percent against the yen at 111.62 yen after touching a more than one-week low.

The dollar hit a more than five-month low against the Swiss franc of 0.9553 franc as the U.S. jobs data was released.