Signs of continued US economic strengthening helps lift dollar against other major currencies

The dollar is continuing to gain against world currencies following the latest signs that the U.S. economy is strengthening.

The Labor Department reported that applications for unemployment benefits fell to a five-year low last week.

The euro declined to $1.2948 from $1.2961 late Wednesday as European Union leaders gathered for a summit beset by anti-austerity protesters.

The dollar rose to 96.34 Japanese yen from 96.10 yen. Japan's lower house of Parliament endorsed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's choice to lead the nation's central bank. Haruhiko Kuroda is expected to ease Japan's monetary policy.

The British pound was one of the few major currencies rising against the dollar. It increased to $1.4992 from $1.4914.