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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 weakness." 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 footing.