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FOREX-Dollar gains over euro after strong U.S. retail sales

weak manufacturing data in the region.

* Retail sales, jobless claims show strong U.S. economy

* Euro hurt by weak manufacturing data

(New throughout, updates trading and comments to U.S. market open, new byline, changes dateline, previous LONDON) NEW YORK, April 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar gained on Thursday on strong retail sales data, while the euro was dented U.S. retail sales increased by the most in 1-1/2 years in March as households boosted purchases of motor vehicles and a range of other goods, the latest indication that economic growth picked up in the first quarter after a false start. Other data showed that the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell to more than a 49-1/2-year low last week, pointing to sustained strength in the economy. The picture was less bullish in the Eurozone as data showed that activity in Germany's manufacturing sector shrank for a fourth straight month in April, while a similar survey from France also painted a bleak picture. In the space of several hours we got a timely reminder that the growth leadership is very decisively in favor of the U.S. dollar, said Richard Franulovich, head of FX strategy at Westpac Banking Corp in New York. Investors have been looking for signs that global growth is stabilizing after a slowdown. "Investors are worried about the health of the global economy and the eurozone and the fortunes of the euro are closely tied with that," said Ricardo Evangelista, a senior analyst at ActivTrades in London. A week ago, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi raised the prospect of more support for the struggling euro zone economy if its slowdown persist.


Currency bid prices at 9:00AM (1300 GMT)

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low BidPrevious Change


Euro/Dollar EUR= $1.1238 $1.1294 -0.50% -2.01%+1.1305 +1.1239Dollar/Yen JPY= 111.9500 112.0500 -0.09% +1.53%+112.0700 +111.7800Euro/Yen EURJPY= 125.81 126.54 -0.58% -0.32%+126.6000 +125.7100Dollar/Swiss CHF= 1.0130 1.0103 +0.27% +3.22%+1.0132 +1.0093Sterling/Dollar GBP= 1.3002 1.3043 -0.31% +1.92%+1.3053 +1.2994Dollar/Canadian CAD= 1.3379 1.3338 +0.31% -1.89%+1.3399 +1.3336Australian/Doll AUD= 0.7154 0.7178 -0.33% +1.49%+0.7199 +0.7149


Euro/Swiss EURCHF= 1.1386 1.1414 -0.25% +1.17%+1.1422 +1.1367Euro/Sterling EURGBP= 0.8642 0.8657 -0.17% -3.81%+0.8669 +0.8637NZ NZD= 0.6681 0.6726 -0.67% -0.54%+0.6730 +0.6680


Dollar/Norway NOK= 8.5254 8.4911 +0.40% -1.31%+8.5597 +8.4867Euro/Norway EURNOK= 9.5838 9.5976 -0.14% -3.25%+9.6314 +9.5851Dollar/Sweden SEK= 9.3174 9.2466 +0.25% +3.94%+9.3350 +9.2391Euro/Sweden EURSEK 10.4732 10.4475 +0.25% +2.04%+10.5034 +10.4400

(Additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in London Editing by Susan Thomas)