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Canadian dollar rises on 'neutral' Bank of Canada

These are stories Report on Business is following Thursday, March 6, 2014.

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Dollar gains
The Canadian dollar is slightly higher this morning, though still below 91 cents U.S., after the neutral stand taken by the Bank of Canada yesterday.

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Governor Stephen Poloz and his colleagues were about as neutral as they could get as they held their key overnight rate steady at 1 per cent and said any  rate moves will depend on data going forward.

The statement ended uncertainty that the central bank could take a "dovish turn," said chief currency strategist Camilla Sutton of Bank of Nova Scotia.

Over all, global markets are relatively tame today, buoyed by developments in Ukraine.

ECB holds firm
The European Central Bank as left interest rates unchanged today as compelling signs emerge that the recovery is under way, our European correspondent Eric Reguly reports.

The ECB's rate on its main refinancing operations remained at 0.25 per cent. Most economists had expected no change.

The Bank of England also stayed on hold.

Canadian Natural boosts dividend
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. took a page from the country's banks today, hiking its dividend as its fourth-quarter profit climbed.

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The energy giant boosted the quarterly dividend to 22.5 cents from 20 cents.

Canadian Natural profit rose to $413-million or 38 cents a share from $352-million or 32 cents a year earlier.

"Our record cash flow of approximately $7.5-billion was due to strong operating performance overall and a healthy price environment, which contributed to a 24-per-cent increase in cash flow over the comparable period in 2012," said chief financial officer Corey Bieber.

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