* C$ finishes at 97.48 U.S. cents
* Touches highest level since early August 2008
* Move driven by upbeat U.S. corporate results
* Higher energy prices, equity market rally help
* Bond prices lower across the curve
(Updates to close, adds quotes)
TORONTO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar zoomed to
its highest level in just over 14 months on Wednesday as upbeat
U.S. corporate results boosted investor optimism about a global
recovery, whetting appetite for riskier assets.
Reports this week from JPMorgan Chase & Co
Intel Corp contributed to a broad-based downturn in
the U.S. dollar, as investors bought assets and currencies
viewed as more geared to global economic growth. [FRX/]
Investor sentiment was also boosted by U.S. retail sales
data on Wednesday [ID:nN14236340], which helped to propel North
American stock indexes higher. The Dow Jones industrials broke
through the 10,000-mark for the first time in a year. [.TO]
As well, the price of oil
, a key Canadian export,
hit a record high for the year above $75 a barrel. [O/R]
"The move higher was supported by oil prices and continued
risk appetite," said Matthew Strauss, senior currency
strategist at RBC Capital Markets.
The Canadian currency
shot to C$1.0251 to the U.S.
dollar, or 97.55 U.S. cents, its loftiest level since Aug. 1,
The Canadian unit finished at C$1.0259 to the U.S. dollar,
or 97.48 U.S. cents, up from C$1.0365 to the U.S. dollar, or
96.48 U.S. cents, at Tuesday's close.
All eyes will be on movements in the U.S. currency as
investors await a string of U.S. data on Thursday including
U.S. inflation numbers and weekly jobless claims, said Strauss.
"At this point, the U.S. dollar selloff is quite
overextended from a technical perspective," he said.
But the Canadian dollar may not see huge movements for the
remainder of the week, he added.
"Even if there's reason to rally further the market will
probably be reluctant to push the Canadian dollar up to parity
so close ahead of the Bank of Canada meeting," said Strauss.
The central bank, which holds its rate-setting meeting next
week, has voiced concern about the currency's stunning rally,
which it fears will hurt exporters, endanger the tentative
economic recovery, and cause inflation to undershoot the bank's
But market players are also skeptical about the Bank of
Canada's willingness to intervene to weaken the currency.
Last week, Australia's central bank hiked rates, making it
the first of the Group of 20 central banks to raise interest
rates as the global financial crisis eases.
The move sparked speculation on which central bank will
hike next, though the strong Canadian dollar makes the Bank of
Canada less likely to follow. [ID:nN0965028]
Canada's central bank earlier this year chopped its key
rate to a record low of 0.25 percent and pledged to keep it
there until the middle of 2010.
Domestic bond prices fell across the curve, tracking the
move in the bigger U.S. Treasury market, with the move lower
driven by the corporate results and economic data, said Eric
Lascelles, chief economics and rates strategist at TD
The two-year bond
fell 5 Canadian cents to
C$99.06 to yield 1.702 percent, while the 10-year bond
sank 23 Canadian cents to C$101.77 to yield 3.530
The Canadian market outperformed U.S. Treasury bonds, with
the 10-year Canadian yield about 11 basis points above its U.S.
counterpart, compared with around 16.4 basis points on
(Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)