* C$ dips to C$0.9742 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0265
* Equity, commodity markets eyed for trading cue
* C$0.9770-C$0.9800 range remains key
* Flaherty to stay as Canada finance minister
TORONTO, May 18 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar was mildly
softer against the U.S. currency on Wednesday, while bond
prices were nearly flat, after several choppy sessions tracking
the equity and commodity markets.
Similar to recent days, the Canadian dollar held in a tight
range ahead of the open on North American equity markets. In
early dealings, the Canadian dollar traded between
C$0.9707-C$0.9748, holding near the previous session's close
when it recovered with Toronto's main equity index.
"The asset markets in general, despite yesterday's
recovery, still feel jittery," said Shane Enright, executive
director of foreign exchange sales at CIBC World Markets.
"It's still very fragile, and the currencies remain very
sensitive to the pulse of that tone in risk. I think we'll take
our cues once the equity markets open and once the commodities
really get going now."
At 8:32 a.m. (1232 GMT), the Canadian dollar
at C$0.9742 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0265, down from Tuesday's
North American session end at C$0.9726 to the U.S. dollar, or
Canada's two-year bond
was unchanged to yield
1.636 percent, while the 10-year bond was off 1
Canadian cent to yield 3.166 percent.
The major technical area for the currency remains between
C$0.9770-C$0.9800, which represents the 100-day moving average,
a level it twice hasn't been able to overcome.
Enright said if the currency closed weaker than that range,
it could ultimately set up for a run back towards parity with
the U.S. dollar.
However, the market is showing little inclination to break
it, and the Canadian dollar would have to rise through C$0.9650
to take away that threat of a new range.
The catalyst for both currency and bonds could come at the
end of the week when Statistics Canada releases inflation data
for April and retail sales for March.
The data are among the few last figures before the Bank of
Canada's next interest rate decision on May 31. Few market
players expect a rate hike at the end of the month, and
increasingly, expectations of a rate hike are getting pushed
later into the year.
Neither the currency nor bond prices were influenced by
news that Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will stay in
his job after the federal government shuffle later on
Prices were also little changed after data showed Canada's
composite leading indicator climbed 0.8 percent in April from
March. Other data showed Canadian wholesale trade inched up 0.1
percent in March from February as declines in several sectors
offset partial gains in the auto sector. [ID:nSCLIGE7CB]
(Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)