* C$ ticks higher to 97.48 U.S. cents
* Bond prices edge lower across the curve
* Canada May leading indicator rises 0.9 pct (Adds details)
TORONTO, June 18 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar edged higher on Friday as oil prices turned positive and stronger-than-forecast Canadian economic data and moderate gains on equity markets provided support.
The price of oil, often a driver of Canada's commodity-linked currency, pushed above $77 a barrel to erase early losses. Oil prices were pressured early in the day by a warning from a Chinese central bank adviser that economic growth was expected to slow in the second half of this year. [O/R]
Soft U.S. weekly jobless claims and regional factory activity data released on Thursday had also weighed on global recovery hopes. [ID:nTST000214]
"(Crude has) come up a long way from its lows," said Firas Askari, head of foreign exchange trading at BMO Capital Markets.
"Canada's underperformance is perceived to be overdone, I think, and what you're seeing here probably is a little bit of catch-up."
At 10:15 a.m. (1415 GMT), the Canadian dollar was at C$1.0259 to the U.S. dollar, or 97.48 U.S. cents, up from Thursday's finish at C$1.0270 to the U.S. dollar, or 97.37 U.S. cents.
Support also came from early modest gains on North American equity markets [.TO] [.N] and from figures showing Canada's composite leading indicator rose by 0.9 percent in May from April. The increase, the 12th straight gain, was greater than the 0.7 percent advance expected by market operators. [ID:nN18228501]
"Generally, the Canadian dollar story is a good story. We've had relatively weakish numbers outside of today this week," said Askari, noting housing figures earlier in the week were particularly disappointing. [ID:nN16194833]
Figures on Thursday showed the value of Canadian wholesale trade in April dipped unexpectedly, suggesting a cooler tempo of economic growth, while TD Economics said the domestic economy was set for a bumpy, "pothole" recovery. [ID:N17212998]
Investors largely shrugged off a speech by Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, who cautioned investors again on Friday not to take another interest rate hike for granted, saying volatile global conditions mean no particular path for monetary policy is preordained. [ID:nN18116394]
The speech was nearly identical to one Carney gave on June 16. [ID:nN16178696]
Canadian government bond prices posted slim losses, influenced by softer U.S. Treasuries on easing euro zone debt concerns. [US/]
The two-year government bonddipped 4 Canadian cents to yield 1.742 percent, while the 10-year bond edged down 10 Canadian cents to yield 3.315 percent. (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)
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