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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index reached its highest in nearly 3 years on Thursday, buoyed by a jump in shares of gold miners and in BlackBerry (BB.TO) following Facebook Inc's (FB.O) planned acquisition of mobile-messaging service WhatsApp.
The move by Facebook raised investor hopes that BlackBerry's own messaging platform might have been undervalued. Shares of the smartphone maker jumped 4.1 percent.
Providing further support were figures from the United States that showed manufacturing activity picked up pace in February to record its fastest growth in nearly four years. Separate data indicated that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week.
The Toronto market, which is benefiting from rising optimism for equities, climbed for a 12th straight session and has gained about 4.3 percent this year.
"There's no denying that appetite for equities has come back in a big way," said Elvis Picardo, a strategist at Global Securities, who added that investors were also exercising caution.
"Investors are not rushing out and buying everything they can get their hands on," he said. "A great deal of attention is paid to earnings. Fundamentals are still reigning."
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 90.64 points, or 0.64 percent, at 14,210.37.
Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
In corporate news, TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) said it is considering how to proceed with its Keystone XL pipeline, a day after a court voided the Nebraska governor's decision to allow the controversial line to pass through the Midwestern state. The stock gave back 2.1 percent, to C$48.83.
Loblaw Cos Ltd (L.TO) added 4.8 percent, to C$44.29, after the grocery chain's quarterly profit beat market expectations as gross margins improved.
Editing by Chizu Nomiyama