* U.S. new home sales, consumer confidence data beat
* Dollar gains against euro, yen
* Sterling weaker after Bank of England comments
(Adds comments, updates prices, changes byline, dateline,
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK, June 24 The U.S. dollar edged higher
on Tuesday after stronger-than-expected U.S. housing and
consumer confidence data increased expectations of a more
hawkish tone from the Federal Reserve.
The Commerce Department said sales of new single-family
homes surged 18.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate
of 504,000 units in May. That was the highest since May 2008,
while the increase was the biggest since January 1992.
The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of
consumer attitudes rose to 85.2 in June from a downwardly
revised 82.2 in May. Economists had expected a reading of 83.5,
according to a Reuters poll.
"FOMC officials have certainly become concerned about
stagnation in the housing market, and the data today might
alleviate that concern," said Brian Daingerfield, currency
strategist at the Royal Bank of Scotland in Stamford,
Connecticut, referring to Fed policymakers.
Daingerfield added that this "could ... lead to a more
hawkish tone," although he said inflation data would be more
crucial. Traders are watching for signs of when the Fed will
begin hiking U.S. interest rates from rock-bottom levels.
The data, which lifted the dollar broadly against a basket
of major currencies, erased the euro's modest gains against the
dollar and strengthened its gains against the yen.
Earlier the dollar had weakened after news that U.S.
single-family home prices rose less than expected in April. The
S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained
0.2 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, below
economists' median forecast, according to a Reuters poll.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the dollar against a
basket of six major currencies, was last up 0.09 percent at
80.343. The euro was last down 0.01 percent to trade at
$1.3600, while the dollar was last up 0.17 percent against the
yen at 102.10 yen.
The dollar was last up 0.08 percent against the Swiss franc
to trade at 0.8950 franc, while the pound fell 0.3
percent against the dollar to trade at $1.6975 after Bank of
England chief Mark Carney did little to bolster interest rate
Carney, his deputy Charlie Bean and Monetary Policy
Committee member David Miles told lawmakers the UK economy had
spare capacity that needed to be used up before rates rose.
The currency last traded at a one-week low after rising to
its highest in nearly six years last week against the dollar
after Carney said rates may rise earlier than markets were
"The main message is there's no need for an immediate rate
hike," said Charles St-Arnaud, currency strategist at Nomura
Securities in London. "Don't expect too much of a hawkish tone
from the Bank of England until the fourth quarter."
(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by James Dalgleish)