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Tuesday April 22, 2008 - 18:55:55 GMT
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Midday Market Update: Canadian Dollar at Session High as Oil Hits $119 a Barrel

12:28 04/22 (CEP News) – The Canadian dollar initially fell three-quarters of a cent following the Bank of Canada’s decision to cut the overnight target rate to 3.00% from 3.50%. But the loonie later pared its losses as market watchers took a second look at the BOC’s statement and crude climbed above $119 a barrel.

Elsewhere, the euro rose to an all-time high after hawkish rhetoric from the European Central Bank and U.S. existing home sales for March did little to change sentiment as it was relatively in line with expectations.

North American fixed income markets are mixed and equities are declining with yields on U.S. 10-year Treasury notes down 3.1 bps to 3.69% and Canadian 10-year CGBs down 1.0 bps to 3.66%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is trading down 111.14 points to 12713.88 and the S&P TSX Composite Index down 7.78 points to 14313.38. The Canadian dollar is up 0.30 cents to 0.9972 USD and the euro is up 0.90 cents, to 1.60043 USD. Futures on WTI crude oil are up $2.02 to $118.65 a barrel.

The Bank of Canada acted as expected by cutting interest rates by a half-point to 3.00%. Afterwards, most market watchers were trying to interpret a statement from the bank saying, “further monetary stimulus will likely be required to achieve the inflation target over the medium term.” The previous statement said “near term.” The growth outlook was also revised downward to 1.4% in 2008.

Shortly after the announcement, Maria Jones, a currency strategist at TD Securities, said the initial sell off in the Canadian dollar was likely to be short lived. She turned out to be right as the Canadian dollar later rallied to session highs.

“It's a little bit of a mixed statement. If you look at the bulk of the statement, it's dovish. But at the bottom, which is where they typically guide about what's next, they toned down the statement from near term to medium term. Net-net it's fairly neutral but the Canadian dollar is selling off on the dovish. Personally, I see it as only a short-term reaction,” Jones said.

Elsewhere in currency markets, the euro rose to a record high and hit 1.60 for the first time. The euro is up 0.89 cents, to 1.6019 against the USD. The rally started after European Central Bank Governing Council members Nicholas Garganas, Christian Noyer and Yves Mersch were quoted in various outlets overnight and they all continued to tout risks to inflation.

The weakness in the U.S. dollar was given as a reason for the surge in oil, as were continued supply concerns due to attacks in Nigeria. Subsequently, the high oil prices aided the Canadian dollar as it climbed to session highs. The rise in oil also coincided with a sharp decline in U.S. stocks.

Toronto's S&P TSX composite index was down 7.78 points to 14313.38, the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 111.14 points to 12713.88, the S&P 500 down 13.39 points to 1374.78 and the NASDAQ down 34.12 points to 2373.92.

European stock markets are closed, with the Eurostoxx down 16.92 points to 3148.61, the UK FTSE 100 down 18.30 points to 6034.70 and the German DAX down 58.25 points to 6728.30.

Yields on two-year Canadian government bonds were down 1.6 bps to 2.83%, five-year yields down 1.9 bps to 3.14%, 10-year yields down 1.0 bps to 3.66% and 30-year yields up 1.0 bps to 4.13%.

U.S. two-year yields were flat at 2.17%, five-year yields up 0.7 bps to 2.94%, 10-year yields down 3.1 bps to 3.69% and 30-year yields down 4.2 bps to 4.45%. The Eurodollar June 08 contract was up 2.0 ticks to 97.15. The 10/2 year spread flattened 3.83 bps to 151.57.

In Germany, returns on two-year German Bunds were up 9.4 bps to 3.89%, five-year yields up 6.9 bps to 3.94%, 10-year yields up 3.1 bps to 4.15% and 30-year yields down 1.1 bps to 4.65%.

Yields on UK two-year bonds were up 11.3 bps to 4.45%, five-year yields up 8.4 bps to 4.46%, 10-year yields up 1.6 bps to 4.69% and 30-year yields down 2.5 bps to 4.54%.

All data taken at 12:14 p.m. EDT.

By Adam Button, [email protected], edited by Stephen Huebl, [email protected]

(END) ©CEP Newswires - ©CEP News Ltd. 2008. All Rights Reserved.


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