The U.S. dollar maintained footing against most major currencies Friday, after investors cheerfully took in data on the U.S. economy, including a highly-anticipated gauge on consumer sentiment. Concerns about slowing global growth and the withdrawal of monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve, combined with country-oriented issues such as political turmoil, has made investors wary of riskier assets such as stocks in recent sessions, and has helped the U.S. dollar rise against most other currencies. Stocks around the world fell sharply while bonds gained. As for Friday's data, the Thomson Reuters / University of Michigan final index of U.S. consumer sentiment came in at 81.2 in January, beating expectations for a 81.0 reading. Also in the U.S. official data revealed consumer spending rose 0.4% in December, beating expectations for a 0.2% reading though personal income came in unchanged, missing expectations for a 0.0% gain. The data kept expectations firm that the Federal Reserve will continue tapering its monthly bond-buying program as the year progresses. Currently, the Fed is buying $65 billion in Treasury and mortgage debt a month from banks, which weakens the dollar to spur recovery. The program began in 2012, starting out at $85 billion in Fed asset purchases a month. The ICE dollar index, a measure of the dollar's strength, was at 81.270, up from 81.061 late Thursday in North America . The ICE dollar index is facing a weekly rise of 0.9% from last Friday's level around 80.457. The Dollar was up against the British pound, with the GBP/USD down 0.29% at $1.64356 . Against the yen , the dollar fell 0.47% to ¥102.222 from ¥102.72, as the Japanese currency gained on positive data. Japanese consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in over five years, adding to optimism that the country could finally end deflation. The core consumer price index rose 1.3% in December, compared with a year earlier.
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