CANADA FX DEBT-C$ higher after U.S. jobs data

TORONTO, March 6 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened on Friday morning against the greenback after U.S. jobs data showed a massive loss in February that wasn’t as bad as some in the market had feared.

At 8:46 a.m. (1346 GMT), the Canadian dollar rose to C$1.2792 to the U.S. dollar, or 78.17 U.S. cents, up from Thursday’s close at C$1.2884 or 77.62 U.S. cents.

“The initial knee-jerk reaction was to drive the Canadian dollar stronger as the first read on the U.S. employment report was that it wasn’t quite as bad as the worst expectations,” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist, BMO Capital Markets.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls data on Friday showed employers axed 651,000 jobs in February, pushing the unemployment rate to its highest in 25 years as companies buckled under the strain of recession. For more see [ID:nN05339652].

The figure was near economists’ consensus expectation in a Reuters poll of a 648,000 drop in nonfarm payrolls, though some had forecast losses as high as 800,000.

After the data, domestic bond prices weakened.

“The main message is the market’s worst fears for this report weren’t quite realized so we’ve seen the Canadian dollar strengthen a bit on that and bonds come off their highs,” said Porter. (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by James Dalgleish)