CANADA FX-C$ hits strongest in more than a week after U.S. data

* C$ at C$1.0209 vs US$, or 97.95 U.S. cents

* C$ touches one-week high after U.S. jobless claims

* U.S. dollar broadly weaker

TORONTO, April 25 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar hit its strongest level in more than a week against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday after U.S. data showed a fall in new jobless benefit claims, briefly tempering broader fears about tepid U.S. economic growth.

“We traded all the way down to C$1.0201, so it’s been a very strong morning, a lot just based on U.S. dollar broad-based weakness,” said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank.

“All in all it’s a broadly weaker U.S. dollar day, we don’t have a lot of data from Canada.”

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week by a surprisingly large 16,000 to 339,000, offering reassurance the bottom is not falling out of the labor market despite signs of slower growth.

The unexpected strength boosted risk-on sentiment, sending U.S. stock markets to a positive open. While the U.S. dollar pared some losses, it was weaker against most currencies as investors worried about a recent disappointing run of economic news from the United States, Germany and China.

At 9:42 a.m. (1342 GMT) the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.0209 to the U.S. dollar, or 97.95 U.S. cents, up from C$1.0256, or 97.50 U.S. cents, at Wednesday’s North American close.

Sutton said testimony by Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney on Wednesday was in line with previous statements and the recent Monetary Policy Report, confirming a tightening bias.

The Bank of Canada is expected to announce a replacement any day for Carney, who is leaving in June to head the Bank of England. The bank’s current deputy, Tiff Macklem, is widely expected to take the helm, but analysts say there is always a chance of a surprise.

The loonie, as the currency is colloquially known, has finished within a tight 12-point range since the central bank stuck to its oft-repeated view last week that its next interest rate move will be a rise.

Canadian government bond prices were mixed. The two-year bond was down 1 Canadian cent to yield 0.950 percent and the benchmark 10-year bond was down 14 Canadian cents to yield 1.740 percent.