CANADA STOCKS-Gold miners drive TSX to 3-month high

Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:07am EDT
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* TSX up 48.40 points, or 0.41 pct, at 11,953.84.
    * Miners drive gainers as gold prices rally

    By Claire Sibonney
    TORONTO, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose
to its highest in more than three months on Thursday as mining
shares rallied on gold prices and Barrick Gold said it was in
talks to sell an African stake to a Chinese company.
    Hints that global growth engine China is considering new
support for its economy also lifted sentiment for Canada's
resource-heavy index, while U.S. data did little to change
investors' view of the recovery.
    Among the most influential gainers, Canada's Barrick jumped
3.4 percent to C$35.43 after news that the world's largest gold
miner is in talks to sell a majority stake in its African unit
to China National Gold Group. 
    Adding to the gold group's luster, prices for bullion
rebounded from two straight losing sessions after prominent
hedge fund managers, including John Paulson and George Soros,
raised their stakes in the No. 1 gold exchange-traded fund SPDR
Gold Trust in the second quarter. 
    "I think you're going to start seeing some of the momentum
in the seasonality come back in that space, but the macro
headwinds are concerning, they really are," said  Arthur Salzer,
chief executive officer of Northland Wealth Management.
    "You want to sell into strength and you want to buy into
    Other advancers on the index included Goldcorp Inc,
up 1.7 percent to C$36.87, Potash Corp, up 1 percent to
C$43.72, and Canadian Natural Resources, which gained 1
percent to C$31.13. 
    At 10:48 a.m. (1448 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was up 48.40 points, or 0.41
percent, at 11,953.84. The TSX hit its highest intraday level
since May 4.
    Investors were also focused on expectations for economic
stimulus in China after Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday the
country, the world's top consumer of refined copper, still faced
headwinds despite cooling inflation. 
    Those expectations got another boost after China's Commerce
Ministry said that the trade outlook for 2012 was worsening.
darkened especially by growing problems in Europe.
    Meanwhile, U.S. data showed the number of Americans filing
new claims for jobless benefits edged higher last week although
a longer trend fell close to a four-year low, indicating a
slowly healing jobs market.
    But housing starts unexpectedly dropped 1.1 percent last
month as the industry continues to have trouble finding its