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* C$ up at C$0.9992 vs US$, or $1.0008 * Bond prices drift lower across curve By Claire Sibonney TORONTO, May 10 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar firmed slightly against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, pausing from a sharp selloff in the previous session as investors awaited a slew of North American economic data. The Canadian currency did not take any major direction from weak Chinese trade data that stoked fears of slower growth and undermined global risk appetite as European leaders struggled to contain a worsening debt crisis. Market participants took some positive direction from rising U.S. stock futures. But many traders appeared to be on the sidelines ahead of Canada's monthly employment report on Friday and other North American economic data due at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) on Thursday, including U.S. jobless claims, trade data from both sides of the border and Canadian housing prices. "In the case of Canada, it's more tomorrow's employment data that is critical rather than today's data to the extent that that probably is ... one of the more important determinants of the Bank of Canada executing the tightening bias that it now carries," said Adam Cole, global head of FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets in London. "So the fact that the Bank of Canada put that tightening bias in place at the last meeting does throw the spotlight a bit more onto the domestic indicators than it has been in recent months." Canada will be fortunate if it registered much of an employment increase in April after March's outsized gain of 82,300 jobs, according to a Reuters poll of analysts. Data out on May 11 is forecast to show a much smaller 7,000 gain, and the unemployment rate edging back up a tick to 7.3 percent, after having fallen in March to 7.2 percent from 7.4 percent. (ID:nL1E8G4LBK) At 7:57 a.m. (1157 GMT), the Canadian currency stood at C$0.9992 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0008, slightly stronger than Wednesday's finish at C$1.0009 against the U.S. dollar, or 99.91 U.S. cents. On Wednesday, Canada's dollar slid to its lowest in three and half months, back below parity against the U.S. dollar over fears about the health of Spanish banks and a political impasse in Greece. Cole said the parity level is providing some support for the U.S. dollar against Canada's. "You would want to see a close below that level to be convinced that it was sustainably breaking below that level," he said. "But otherwise I think quite narrow ranges ahead of the (employment) numbers tomorrow unless you get a large move in risk appetite one way or the other which is enough to carry CAD." Canadian bond prices drifted lower across the curve, with Canada's 2-year bond down 4 Canadian cents to yield 1.243 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond lost 17 Canadian cents to yield 2.003 percent.