CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on gold miners, U.S. data
* TSX up 73.98 pts, or 0.6 pct, at 12,697.34
* At highest level since Sept. 7, 2011
* Materials issues rise, financials fall
* U.S. housing data boosts sentiment
* Weak euro zone, China data weighs
By Jon Cook
TORONTO, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index extended gains on Wednesday afternoon after hitting a five-month high in the previous session, as gold mining issues were boosted by higher bullion prices and strong U.S. housing data.
Gold shares surged nearly 2 percent after bullion hit a three-month high on Wednesday as technical buying helped the precious metal reverse initial losses.
"We are seeing all the funds step in. It (technical buying) is the only thing at the moment that we can pin it on," said Frank McGhee, head precious metals trader at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC. Continued...