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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index extended its gains to a third straight day on Wednesday, hitting a one-week high, as positive trade data from China buoyed hopes for a global economic recovery and lifted financial and energy shares.
The gains offset weakness in Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) and other gold shares. The world's biggest gold mining firm was hit by a court in Chile temporarily suspending construction at a huge mine there. <ID: nL2N0CX0II>
The price of bullion tumbled after minutes of a Federal Reserve meeting showed some policymakers expected to slow the pace of bond purchases and discontinue them by year end. <GOL/>
Data showed that Chinese imports of key commodities rebounded in March as hopes of a strengthening economy encouraged end-users to ramp up production and cautiously replenish stocks.
Those figures followed upbeat Chinese inflation numbers on Tuesday and helped the resource-heavy Toronto index extend its recovery from a five-day losing streak last week, when it lost 3.3 percent.
"There is a sense of optimism that maybe things are turning around, especially on the resources side. That is helping the mood out there," said Serge Pepin, vice president of investment strategy at BMO Asset Management Canada.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 50.86 points, or 0.41 percent, at 12,534.91, after reaching 12,555.68, its highest point in a week.
On Tuesday, the index recorded its biggest one-day percentage jump in more than four months.
"Investors are still comfortable with the risks associated with equities, and the rally that we saw start in mid-November, while it took a breather last week, really remains intact," said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.
The benchmark Canadian index is up more than 6 percent since a low in November despite last week's selloff.
Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Gains were limited by a 2.9 percent decline in the materials sector, which includes mining stocks. Gold prices were down about 1.7 percent, and gold shares fell 4.3 percent.
Barrick Gold fell 8.7 percent to C$24.81 following a Chilean court suspended construction of the miner's $8.5 billion Pascua-Lama gold and silver mine after indigenous communities said the project was destroying glaciers and harming water supply.
Financials, the index's weightiest sector, added 1.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) gained 2 percent to C$61.38 and played the biggest role of any single stock in leading the market higher.
Energy shares climbed 1.1 percent.
Editing by Grant McCool