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* TSX rises 173.70 points, or 1.4 pct, to 12,200.46 * Biggest one-day gain since Jan. 3 * Commodities, insurers lead market higher By Claire Sibonney TORONTO, April 12 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index notched its biggest gain since early January on Thursday, recovering from a string of losses, after lower yields on some euro-zone debt and rumors of strong Chinese growth lifted commodity and financial shares. Canadian Natural Resources jumped 4.2 percent to C$33.00, Manulife Financial advanced 5.2 percent to C$13.28 and Suncor Energy added 2.3 percent to C$30.82. Gold miners were also sharply higher. Eldorado Gold surged nearly 11 percent to C$14.31 after the company said it expects annual gold production to touch 1.7 million ounces within five years as it brings new mines into production. Barrick Gold climbed 2 percent to C$42.03 and Goldcorp Inc was up 2.6 percent to C$41.85. "The (commodity) stocks have been lagging very badly. The gold stocks have been discounting about $1,000 gold and oil stocks have been discounting about $80 oil and ... some of the (base metals) just got ridiculously cheap," said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities. "They are nowhere near caught up yet, so hopefully they've put in a bottom." At 2:33 p.m. (1833 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 173.70 points, or 1.44 percent, at 12,200.46. Earlier, the index hit an high of 12,207.73, its strongest level since Jan. 3. It was the second advance for the index after a five-day slide. Lower Italian bond yields eased some euro zone concerns. The market also got a lift from talk China's gross domestic product data due tonight would surprise on the upside. Market participants on Thursday also cited some encouraging remarks by U.S. and European policymakers in the previous session. European Central Bank executive board member Benoit Coeure sought to calm nerves about European debt markets, saying the ECB still has its bond-buying program as an option to ease funding pressures for indebted countries. Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve's influential vice-chair Janet Yellen said the Fed's ultra-easy monetary policy was appropriate given high unemployment and the headwinds facing the economy, and left the door open to further action if needed. "Investors always forget that policymakers and government officials have the ability to intervene in times of stress and adding some calming words doesn't hurt," said Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services. "The doom and gloom can only last for so long...people are sniffing around for bargains." In a sign that the U.S. labor market's recovery may be stalling, government data showed new U.S. claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week to their highest level since January.