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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index gained on Thursday, helped by rises for some of the country's biggest banking stocks and a sharp jump in Valeant Pharmaceuticals but weighed down by losses for gold miners.
The financials group climbed 1 percent after the Bank of Canada said the recent liquidity strain at Home Capital Group Inc (HCG.TO) was specific to that company and that the broader alternative lending system works.
"I think people took some confidence from the comments suggesting the central bank sees Home Capital as an isolated occurrence and still considers the underlying financial system to be fairly robust," said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO) also added to the positive sentiment, jumping 9.4 percent to C$17.96 after saying it would sell its iNova Pharmaceuticals business for $930 million as part of a debt reduction plan.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 50.95 points, or 0.33 percent, at 15,423.09.
Six of its 10 main sectors slipped, although advancers outnumbered declining stocks by a ratio of 1.3 to 1.
Gold miners were among the heaviest weights, falling as investors assessed former FBI Director James Comey's testimony as containing no significant surprises.
Eldorado Gold Corp (ELD.TO) slumped 9.4 percent to C$3.85 after Greece said it would take the miner to arbitration over a gold mining investment.
Base metals miners jumped as copper prices CMCU3 advanced 2.2 percent to $5,746.50 a tonne after better-than-expected Chinese economic data allayed some concerns about oversupply. [MET/L]
First Quantum Minerals Ltd (FM.TO) jumped 7.7 percent to C$11.75.
"It tends to have some big swings off commodity prices, that's not unheard of for them," Cieszynski said.
ECN Capital Corp (ECN.TO) ended up 3 percent at C$3.76 after the commercial financing company said it would buy U.S.-based Service Finance Holdings LLC for C$410 million ($304 million) in cash.
Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Dan Grebler and James Dalgleish