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* C$ at C$1.0347 vs US$ or 96.65 U.S. cents * Fed seen cutting bond-buying by $10 billion next week * C$ seen heading back to C$1.04-1.05 range * Bond prices mixed By Andrea Hopkins TORONTO, Sept 13 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened slightly against its U.S. counterpart on Friday as investors positioned themselves ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting next week at which the Fed is widely expected to scale back its stimulus program modestly. Many traders and analysts expect the U.S. central bank to announce a minor $10 billion reduction in its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program, discouraged from taking bolder action by last Friday's weaker than expected U.S. nonfarm payrolls data. "I think it's possible the Fed will do a nominal amount of tapering, which would give a good signal to the market that the process is beginning, slowly but surely," said John Curran, senior vice president at CanadianForex. He said the U.S. dollar will likely drift higher next week as investors look ahead to the Fed meeting. The central bank will release its policy statement on Wednesday, followed by a news conference held by Chairman Ben Bernanke. "I would expect the Canadian dollar to head back into the C$1.04-C$1.05 range next week, barring any craziness from the Fed," Curran said. The Canadian dollar ended the North American session at C$1.0347 to the U.S. dollar, or 96.65 U.S. cents, weaker than Thursday's session close at C$1.0325, or 96.85 U.S. cents. Uncertainty surrounding the Fed was further fueled by a Japanese newspaper report that said former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers was tipped to replace Ben Bernanke as the next Fed chief. "The Nikkei article about Summers being the next Fed chairmen lifted the (U.S.) dollar across the board," said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York. "We're stuck until we get the Fed decision next Wednesday. That could easily move us one to two big figures, depending on the outcome. And I think everybody just wants to square up and stay neutral heading into that event." Global equity market rose even though weak U.S. economic reports kept many investors on edge, while gold posted its worst week since June as concerns about a possible U.S. military strike on Syria eased. U.S. Treasuries edged higher after weak consumer sentiment and retail sales data bolstered the view that policymakers will exit slowly from the Fed's stimulative bond-buying program. U.S consumer confidence ebbed early this month and retail sales advanced just slightly in August, figures on Friday showed. Prices for Canadian government bonds were mixed across the maturity curve, with the two-year bond up half a Canadian cent to yield 1.283 percent and the benchmark 10-year bond rising 14 Canadian cents to yield 2.765 percent.