* C$ at C$1.0153 vs US$, or 98.49 U.S. cents * Holds near 4 1/2 year highs vs yen * Touches weakest level vs NZD since mid-2005 * Bond prices mixed By Solarina Ho TORONTO, April 9 The Canadian dollar was firmer against its U.S. counterpart on Tuesday as investors looked more favorably at riskier assets but movements were limited by a lack of major news or economic data. The Canadian dollar remained near four-and-a-half-year highs versus the yen following the Bank of Japan's aggressive stimulus policy last week. A solid start to U.S. corporate earnings season and a fall in Chinese inflation helped stocks and commodities. Mixed Canadian housing data did little to move the currency. Housing starts edged higher in March as rural starts surged, but urban starts declined, while separate data showed the value of Canadian building permits were weaker-than-expected. "We didn't really get that much of a strengthening, much of a reaction off the housing start data," said Mazen Issa, macro strategist at TD Securities. "More recently, in the absence of data and more significant events taking place abroad, the drivers tend to shift toward events abroad." At 9:30 a.m. (1330 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.0153 versus the U.S. dollar, or 98.49 U.S. cents, stronger than Monday's North American session close C$1.0173 vs US$, or 98.30 U.S. cents. Its performance was mixed against other currencies, touching its weakest level against the New Zealand dollar since mid-2005, but was stronger against the Swiss franc and Swedish kroner. Canadian government bond prices were mixed, with the two-year bond flat with a yield of 0.992 percent and the benchmark 10-year bond up 5 Canadian cents to yield 1.760 percent.