The dollar gained against the yen and Europe's 17-nation currency as U.S. claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly dropped to the lowest level in more than five years, suggesting economic growth may accelerate.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars pared rallies after the U.S. jobs report, offsetting government data showing job gains in the two South Pacific nations exceeded economists' estimates and damping speculation their central banks will reduce interest rates. Declining U.S. jobless claims and an unemployment rate at the lowest level since December 2008 signal the Federal Reserve may reduce easing sooner than policymakers in Europe and Japan.

The "market is changing its mind regarding U.S. data," Neil Jones, head of hedge-fund sales a Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. in London, said in an e-mail. "It's showing signs of improvement again."

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