* C$ at C$1.0297 vs US$, or 97.12 U.S. cents * U.S. claims for jobless benefits rise slightly last week * Bond yields rise By Solarina Ho TORONTO, July 25 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened slightly on Thursday on the back of a generally weaker U.S. dollar but trading held within a narrow range as investors looked to next week's U.S. jobs data. "As has been the case in recent sessions, really, it's primarily just general (U.S.) dollar weakness," said Adam Cole, global head of FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets in London. "The big dollar generally is driving everything in our markets at the moment and that's driven by expectations of the Fed, and Fed policy's driven basically by the labor market." The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose slightly last week in a sign the U.S. labor market continues to improve at a moderate pace. A four-week average of new claims, which smoothes out volatility, fell 1,250 from a week earlier. The Canadian dollar, which was mostly stronger against other major currencies, was trading at C$1.0297 versus the greenback, or 97.12 U.S. cents. This was firmer than Wednesday's North American finish at C$1.0316 to the U.S. dollar, or 96.94 U.S. cents. RBC expects Thursday's trading range to fall between C$1.0270 and C$1.0320. Next week's U.S. economic growth data and payroll processor ADP's report will be the early indicators for the health of the U.S. labor market. Bond yields have risen over the last few months as encouraging economic data bolstered expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin winding down its bond-buying plan this year. The Bank of Canada is seen hiking interest rates next year. The price of Canadian government debt was lower on the higher end of the maturity curve. The two-year bond fell 2.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.161 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond retreated 20 Canadian cents to yield 2.503 percent. The 30-year bond fell 45 Canadian cents to trade at 3.004 percent, the highest yield for the bond since October 2011.