CANADA FX DEBT-C$ held in check by trade data, Greece
* C$ at C$0.9915 vs US$, or $1.0085 * Bond prices mostly higher By Jon Cook TORONTO, March 19 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was little changed against its U.S. counterpart o n M onday as a stronger greenback kept riskier currencies in check and soft Canadian trade data and nervousness over a looming Greek bond auction weighed on sentiment. Recently, the U.S. dollar has been boosted by a slew of encouraging U.S. economic data, reducing the likelihood of further stimulus from the Federal Reserve. "We're picking up where we left off on Friday," said Don Mikolich, executive director of foreign exchange sales at CIBC World Markets. "In the absence of any real significant fundamental news here, we're probably going to be fairly rangebound and drifting a little bit." As currency traders looked ahead to this week's Canadian retail sales and consumer pricing numbers, data on Monday showed Canada's wholesale trade slumped a worse-than-expected 1 percent in January from December, the second decline in three months following six consecutive gains. However the news did not have much impact on the Canadian currency. At 8:45 a.m. (1245 GMT), the Canadian dollar was at C$0.9915 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0085, little changed from Friday's North American session close at C$0.9919 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0082. Mikolich said he saw the Canadian dollar holding within a tight range between C$0.9990 and C$0.9840. Overall, appetite for riskier growth-oriented assets remained strong, reflected by last week's strong performance by U.S. and European stocks and a big sell-off of Canadian government bonds and U.S. Treasuries driven by expectations for stronger growth in the U.S. economy. However, Canadian government bond prices were up on Monday on slightly lower risk sentiment as market watchers looked ahead to more important economic data later in the week and showed some trepidation about Tuesday's Greek debt swap. The preliminary price set at an auction to decide the payout due to holders of Greek default insurance on Monday showed investors fear for the country's financial future even after a debt restructuring and aid packages. "If not well received, it will bring (Europe's) debt problems back to the radar screens," said Mikolich. "Particularly with Portugal, Spain and Italy in the wings still to be addressed over the next while, so you would see a bit of that risk-off trade." The two-year bond was up three Canadian cents to yield 1.270 percent. The 10-year bond rose two Canadian cents to yield 2.239 percent, but was still close to a five-month high.
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