* C$ ends at C$0.9585 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0433
* Bonds flat to lower
* Focus on Friday's Canada data, 26,500 jobs seen created
* Canada's first 2011 rate hike now seen in July (Updates to close)
TORONTO, April 7 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar CAD=D4 climbed against the U.S. dollar on Thursday after early seesawing, settlimg down ahead of Friday's Canadian employment data for March.
Early volatility sent the Canadian dollar as low as C$0.9624 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0391, after a strong earthquake again rocked Japan and as the European Central Bank raised interest rates. [ID:nLDE7351QH]
The currency closed higher for the eighth time in the past nine sessions. It finished at C$0.9585 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0433, up from Wednesday's North American finish of C$0.9604 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0412.
"The range has been relatively muted since around noon after a fair bit of volatility this morning, which is not totally unexpected given the event and data risk that we had," said Jack Spitz, managing director of foreign exchange at National Bank Financial.
"(Volume has) been somewhat lighter, which is no surprise given tomorrow's payroll number."
Canada has created an average of 40,000 jobs a month over the past five months -- a recovery that's been faster than in the United States -- but gains in February were lackluster and market watchers are keen to see if that lull was temporary. [ID:nN01139782]
Economists polled by Reuters expect that Canada added 26,500 jobs last month, with the unemployment rate seen edging down to 7.7 percent from 7.8 percent.
Oil prices were stronger on Thursday, lending support to the commodity-linked currency, while traders firmed their positions in advance of the jobs figures.
"Sometimes the market has the propensity to pull back long positions ahead of important data risk, like tomorrow's payroll number in Canada," Spitz said. "But we're not seeing much evidence of that right now."
JULY RATE HIKE VIEW GAINS MOMENTUM
Canadian government bond prices were flat to lower across the curve ahead of the employment data, which is the last data point available to the Bank of Canada ahead of its April 12 interest rate announcement.
The central bank is expected to make its first interest rate hike of 2011 in July, as it balances rising economic growth against tame inflation and a high-flying Canadian dollar, according to a Reuters poll on Thursday.
The two-year bond CA2YT=RR was unchanged in price to yield 1.887 percent, while the 10-year bond CA10YT=RR gave back 37 Canadian cents to yield 3.438 percent. (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)