* Currency touches C$1.1982, or 83.46 U.S. cents
* Factory sales rose in February, first time since July
* Firm equities, oil supportive
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, April 16 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar touched its highest level in more than 13 weeks against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, helped by rising equities and domestic data that showed a rebound in domestic factory sales.
World stocks shot higher on Thursday after U.S. bank JPMorgan Chase JPM.N reported better-than-expected earnings. [MKTS/GLOB], while U.S. stock index futures were also slightly higher.
"Equity firmness is a reflection of risk appetite returning," said Matthew Strauss, senior currency strategist RBC Capital Markets. "That general optimistic sentiment is supporting the Canadian dollar."
In Canada, a Statistics Canada report said on Thursday factory sales rose in February for the first time since July due to a slight rebound in the battered auto sector amid other encouraging signs. [ID:nN17446129]
"It's provides further support to the notion that the pace of the slowdown in Canada is easing," said Strauss.
Oil CLc1 climbed toward $50 a barrel, but gains were limited on mixed data from China and the United States. [ID:nSP405814]
At 9:02 a.m. (1302 GMT), the currency was at C$1.1990 to the U.S. dollar, or 83.40 U.S. cents. Earlier, it touched C$1.1982 to the U.S. dollar, or 83.46 U.S. cents, its highest level since Jan. 12.
On Wednesday, the Canadian dollar finished at C$1.2032 to the U.S. dollar, or 83.11 U.S. cents.
Domestic bond prices were lower across the curve.
(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)