CANADA FX DEBT-C$ firms on Greek hopes
* C$ up at C$0.9953 vs US$, or US$1.0047 * Greek bond swap hopes boost sentiment * Bond prices mostly lower By Jon Cook TORONTO, March 8 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday on indications that major European banks and pension funds are likely to take part in the Greek bond swap deal, easing concerns about a chaotic default. However, markets are expected to remain cautious ahead of the formal announcement on the Greek deal, as well as Friday's keenly watched U.S. jobs report, while the Bank of Canada and other central banks are being closely monitored for signs they will keep promoting growth. "It looks like the market is getting more and more optimistic that the bond swap is going to get done without too much pain and that's put the market in risk-on mode," said Steve Butler, a director of foreign exchange trading at Scotia Capital. At 7:45 a.m. (1245 GMT), the Canadian dollar stood at C$0.9953 against the greenback, or $1.0047, up from Wednesday's North American session close at C$0.9982 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0018. Canada's commodities-reliant currency was supported by a rise in oil on Thursday, with prices topping $125 a barrel after a Greek government official said its bond swap offer was going well as banks and funds showed support. Later on Thursday, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney will report results from the central bank's policy meeting, where it is expected to keep the overnight interest rate at its current 1 percent. "That's the expectations, but I've heard some very mild chatter that we might see a slightly less dovish statement from the Bank," said Butler. "It all really hinges upon that because we all know there's going to be no movement in rates today." Canadian housing data released on Thursday was not expected to move the currency. Butler said the Canadian currency should find support at C$0.9990 and resistance at C$0.9920, but added a good Greek result and solid U.S. jobs numbers could move the currency back towards last week's high at C$0.9842. Canadian bond prices were mostly lower, with the two-year bond unchanged at a yield of 1.125, while the 10-year bond dropped 5 Canadian cents to yield 1.974 percent.
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