* C$ ends at C$1.0169 vs US$, or 98.34 U.S. cents * Strongest since April 15 as US GDP lower than expected By Andrea Hopkins TORONTO, April 26 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar hit its strongest level in nearly two weeks versus the U.S. dollar on Friday after data showed U.S. economic growth sped up in the first quarter but not by as much as had been expected. The U.S. dollar tumbled against the yen after the Bank of Japan left its monetary policy unchanged, while benchmark U.S. bond yields fell to near 4-1/2-month lows after the quarterly U.S. GDP data. U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the first quarter. While that was a jump from the tepid growth seen in the final quarter of last year, it disappointed expectations for a 3 percent pace. "We saw a big selloff in dollar-yen off of weaker GDP data, so that helped the Canadian dollar appreciate today," said David Bradley, director of foreign exchange trading at Scotiabank. "In the last couple of days the Canadian dollar has been doing better," Bradley said. "I think a lot of it was positioning: the market was overly short Canadian dollars and a lot of traders were looking for C$1.03 to break at the start of the week and we had a bit of reversal in the commodity market over the last couple of days." The Canadian dollar ended the North American session at C$1.0169 to the greenback, or 98.34 U.S. cents, its strongest level since April 15, and up from Thursday's North American close of C$1.0208, or 97.96 U.S. cents. Bradley said he does not expect the strength to last. "The move is probably close to being done, I don't think we'll see much more C$ strength. Between C$1.0135 and 55 we should run into decent support and retest back toward C$1.02 early next week," he said. Next week, currency investors will be looking for news out of the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting mid-week, Canadian GDP data on Tuesday, and a U.S. payrolls report on Friday. The price of Canadian government debt rose across the curve, with the two-year bond up 2 Canadian cents to yield 0.937 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond rose 35 Canadian cents to yield 1.705 percent.