(Adds strategist quotes and details on activity; updates prices)
* Canadian dollar at C$1.2798, or 78.14 U.S. cents
* Bond prices fall across steeper yield curve
* 10-year yield touches a four-year high at 2.537 percent
TORONTO, May 17 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar edged lower against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, pulling back from a near one-week high as investors turned attention to domestic inflation and retail sales data due on Friday.
At 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT), the Canadian dollar was
trading 0.1 percent lower at C$1.2798 to the greenback, or 78.14 U.S. cents. The currency touched its strongest since May 11 at C$1.2749. "We haven't done anything too significant here," said Amo Sahota, director at Klarity FX in San Francisco. "We're getting ready for tomorrow morning's main event." Canada's inflation report for April and March retail sales data could help guide expectations for further interest rate hikes from the Bank of Canada. The central bank has raised its benchmark rate three times since July to leave it at 1.25 percent. "They are two very important numbers for Canada," Sahota said. On Wednesday, Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Lawrence Schembri said uncertainty about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations is one of the reasons the central bank has kept interest rates low. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday he felt "positive" about talks to rework NAFTA, while a top Mexican official held out hope a deal could be hammered out by the end of May. U.S. officials say the negotiations need to wrap up very soon to give the current Congress time to vote on a final text for a revamped trade pact.
U.S. crude oil futures pulled back from an earlier
3-1/2-year high to settle flat at $71.49 a barrel. Oil is one of Canada's major exports. Foreign investment in Canadian securities picked up in March as investors purchased money market instruments, even as they reduced their bond holdings for a fourth consecutive month, Statistics Canada said. Canada added 30,200 jobs in April, led by hiring in professional and business services, trade, and manufacturing, according to a report from ADP. Canadian government bond prices were lower across a steeper
yield curve, with the two-year down 1 Canadian cent to yield 2.064 percent and the 10-year falling 16
Canadian cents to yield 2.520 percent. The 10-year yield touched its highest intraday level since April 2014 at 2.537 percent.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; editing by Jonathan Oatis and James Dalgleish)