* Firms to C$1.0251, or 97.55 U.S. cents
* Bond prices mostly lower
By Allison Martell
TORONTO, June 14 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.