Investing.com - Weaker-than-expected consumer sentiment data in the U.S. turned investors away from risk-on assets and sent most going long on the safe-haven dollar, which rose against most major currencies on Friday.
In U.S. trading on Friday, was down 0.36% at 1.3328.
The dollar saw widespread demand after earlier data revealed that The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary index of U.S. consumer sentiment fell to 71.3 in January — its lowest level since December 2011 —from 72.9 in December, disappointing expectations for an improvement to 75.0.
Investors opted to remain camped out in the safety of the dollar on fears the U.S. economy still faces stiff headwinds, as consumer spending drives about 70% of the country's total output.
The dollar rose in earlier sessions on the coattails of firming housing and labor-market demand.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported on Thursday that the number of individuals filing for weekly jobless benefits last week fell by 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted five-year low of 335,000, much more than market calls for a decline of 7,000 to 365,000.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said U.S. housing starts jumped by 12.1% in December to an annual unit rate of 954,000, the highest level since 2008, beating out market expectations for a 4.6% increase to 890,000.
Softer-than-expected consumer sentiment figures caught many investors off guard, making higher-yielding currencies ripe for profit taking, which sent the dollar gaining on Friday.
The greenback, meanwhile, was up against the pound, with trading down 0.73% at 1.5880.
Retail sales in the U.K. fell unexpectedly in December, official data showed on Friday.
In a report, the U.K. Office for National Statistics revealed that monthly retail sales declined 0.1% in December, missing analysts calls for retail sales to rise 0.2% last month.
The dollar was up against the yen, with trading up 0.17% at 90.03 and up against the Swiss franc, with trading up 0.18% at 0.9343.
The dollar was mixed against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with up 0.67% at 0.9924, down 0.32% at 1.0513 and trading up 0.05% at 0.8366.
The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.44% at 80.08.