* Ends at C$0.9992 per US$, or $1.0008
* Equity rally, oil price spike lifts C$
* Bonds drift lower as rate hike expectations build
(Updates to close, adds details, quotes)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, April 14 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar rallied
to close above parity with the U.S. currency on Wednesday for
the first time since May 2008, as upbeat U.S. earnings and
strength in commodity prices enticed investors to embrace
assets perceived to be riskier.
World stocks rallied on Wednesday and oil spiked 2 percent
to settle above $85 a barrel on a surprise drawdown in U.S.
crude inventories and optimism about the economic recovery.
Lifted by rallying equity and commodity markets, the
Canadian dollar <CAD=D3> climbed as high as C$0.9953 per U.S.
dollar, or $1.0047, its highest intraday level since June
The currency <CAD=D3> finished at C$0.9992 to the U.S.
dollar, or $1.0008, up from Tuesday's close of C$1.0019 to the
U.S. dollar, or 99.81 U.S. cents.
"To me it's pretty clear the trend is definitely in
Canada's favor," said Firas Askari, head of foreign exchange
trading at BMO Capital Markets.
U.S. corporate earnings proved to be a powerful catalyst,
driving stock markets higher on Wednesday, with shares of Intel
Corp <INTC.O>, the world's largest chipmaker, rallying a day
after it reported earnings and sales that trounced estimates
JPMorgan Chase & Co <JPM.N>, the second-largest U.S. bank,
notched gains after its profit topped estimates.
"We saw some real money types adding to their long,
Canadian dollar positions," said Askari.
"Equities seem to be solid, commodities seem to be solid.
There's a lot of interest in buying Canadian assets ... We have
things the world wants," he added, referring to news this week
that a subsidiary of China's Sinopec Group <0386.HK>
<600028.SS> <SNP.N> had agreed to pay $4.65 billion for
ConocoPhillips's <COP.N> stake in the Syncrude oil sands
project, marking the country's second largest investment in
North America. [ID:nN12204127]
Going forward, market watchers will closely scrutinize the
Bank of Canada's Monetary Policy Report (MPR), which is due out
following a rate announcement later in the month.
Canada's economy is growing at a steady clip, but analysts
don't think the pace will be enough to prompt the central bank
to break its conditional pledge to stand pat on interest rates
until the end of June, providing inflation rates remain tame.
"What I'm looking for is more guidance now from the Bank of
Canada. I don't expect too much movement in the Canadian
dollar. I expect to see a period of consolidation now until we
get the MPR out of the way," said Askari.
BOND PRICES SOFTER
Canadian bond prices moved lower across the curve on
Wednesday as domestic data continues to point to a reviving
As well, yields were up after a well-received government of
bond auction. [ID:nN14160831]
"We've had no let up in the good news in terms of the
Canadian economy," said Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed
income and currency strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
"Rate expectations are causing yields to rise in
shorter-term bonds and the spillover is definitely being felt
in the middle part of the curve," he added.
"The larger story is rates are headed higher. You have to
have some commensurate upward move in yields to make them more
attractive for buyers."
The two-year government bond <CA2YT=RR> fell 6 Canadian
cents to C$99.20 to yield 1.938 percent, while the 10-year bond
<CA10YT=RR> dropped 22 Canadian cents to C$100.25 to yield
Canadian government bonds notched a mixed performance
against U.S. issues. The Canadian two-year yield was 88 basis
points above its U.S. counterpart, compared with around 85
basis points the previous session.
(Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilso