Dollar up on signs US economy slowly improving

NEW YORK -- The dollar rose against the euro Thursday on signs that the U.S. economy is slowly improving.

The Labor Department says that weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week to 369,000. That's consistent with modest hiring.

The National Association of Realtors said its index of home sale agreements rose slightly in September. And the Commerce Department said orders for durable goods rose 9.9 percent last month, although most of those gains were due to a spike in aircraft orders.

The euro fell to $1.2949 in late trading Thursday from $1.2973 late Wednesday.

The British pound rose against the dollar after the United Kingdom said that it has emerged from a nine-month recession. The British pound rose to $1.6124 from $1.6036.

The dollar rose to 80.29 Japanese yen from 79.78 yen and to 0.9343 Swiss franc from 0.9325 Swiss franc.

The dollar was flat at 99.40 Canadian cents.