Canadian dollar notches biggest gain in a month as stocks rally



* Canadian dollar strengthens 0.9% against the greenback

* Touches strongest level since last Thursday at 1.2628

* Canadian retail sales dip 0.6% in July

* Canadian 10-year yield touches a 2-month high at 1.335%

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened to a one-week high against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as investor sentiment picked up and domestic data showed that retail sales fell less than expected in July.

World stock markets .WORLD rallied and the safe-haven U.S. dollar retreated from one-month highs as worries about contagion from property developer China Evergrande eased and investors digested the Federal Reserve's plans for reining in stimulus.

Canada is a major exporter of commodities, including oil, so the loonie tends to be particularly sensitive to investor appetite for risk.

"The assumption here is that (Fed interest) rate hikes are still a long ways out and so equities markets can still perform with accommodative financial conditions," said Mazen Issa, senior FX strategist at TD Securities in New York.

"Consequently, currencies that have a higher beta to the equity market, like the CAD, can do alright."

U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 settled 1.5% higher at $73.30 a barrel, while the Canadian dollar CAD= was trading up 0.9% at 1.2653 to the greenback, or 79.03 U.S. cents.

It was the currency's biggest advance since Aug. 23. It touched its strongest level since last Thursday at 1.2628.

Canadian retail sales dipped 0.6% in July, compared with expectations for a decline of 1.2%, while a preliminary estimate showed sales rebounding 2.1% in August.

Canadian government bond yields were higher across a steeper curve, tracking the move in U.S. Treasuries.

The 10-year CA10YT=RR touched its highest level since July 14 at 1.335% before dipping to 1.330%, up 11.6 basis points on the day.
Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Peter Cooney

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