CANADA FX DEBT-C$ firms with U.S. stocks; focus on Europe
* Firms to C$1.0251, or 97.55 U.S. cents * Bond prices mostly lower By Allison Martell TORONTO, June 14 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar firmed against the greenback on Thursday as U.S. equity markets rose, but the possibility of upheaval after Sunday's election in Greece remained firmly in focus and kept the currency's movements in check. U.S. stocks rose in volatile trading, following a steep decline on Wednesday, brushing off news that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly increased last week. Quick market swings were expected to persist in U.S. stocks, which the Canadian dollar has tracked closely in recent days as traders position ahead of the crucial Greek vote, which could lead to the country's exit from the euro zone. Adam Cole, head of foreign exchange strategy at Royal Bank of Canada in London, said Canadian and U.S. data released on Thursday was not materially affecting the Canadian dollar. "I think there's a reluctance for anyone to take a strong view ahead of the potentially very important events at the weekend, and the closer we get to that, the less appetite there is to position one way or the other," Cole said. "The result is so hard to call, and the outcomes potentially so polar in terms of what they imply for markets. It's something that's very, very hard to position for." Data released on Thursday showed that the price of new homes in Canada rose 0.2 percent in April, slightly below the 0.3 percent rise forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll. Canadian industries operated at 80.7 percent of their capacity in the first quarter, slightly higher than the 80.5 percent forecast in a Reuters poll. At about 11:45 a.m. (1545 GMT) Canada's dollar was at C$1.0251, or 97.55 U.S. cents, compared with Wednesday's close at C$1.0292, or 97.16 U.S. cents. In the first hours of North American equity trading Canada's dollar had dropped as low as C$1.0270. The currency was little changed through much of Wednesday's session, but weakened heading into the close. Cole saw the dollar continuing in the week's range through Friday, between about C$1.02 and C$1.032. Canada's bond prices were mostly lower. Canada's two-year bond fell 2 Canadian cents to yield 1.039 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond fell 21 Canadian cents, yielding 1.790 percent.
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