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TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index closed higher on Wednesday as a record high gold price and a turnaround in oil prices boosted resource issues.
Gold prices surged above $1,180 an ounce on U.S. dollar weakness, while the price of oil settled near $78 a barrel on lower-than-expected builds in U.S. oil inventories.
World No. 1 gold producer Barrick Gold gained 1.47 percent to C$46.24, while Teck Resources jumped 3.28 percent to C$37.48. Suncor Energy gained 0.62 percent to C$38.94.
EnCana shares topped the list of most active advancers, up 2.5 percent to C$57.36, after shareholders overwhelmingly approved a plan to split Canada's No. 2 independent petroleum producer into independent oil and natural gas businesses.
Overall, the energy and materials groups were the biggest gainers, rising 1.18 percent and 1.89 percent, respectively.
Market activity petered out at midafternoon as traders closed up positions ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, leaving the index with a stable gain after investors weighed a mixed bag of U.S. economic data.
The market sided with upbeat U.S. October consumer spending and weekly labor data, embracing them as further signs of the strength of the economic recovery, and looked past an unexpected fall in durable good orders.
"Good economic numbers in the U.S., good commodity numbers. Gold was strong again so that's kept the Toronto market a little higher," said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 97.27 points, or 0.84 percent, at 11,636.90. Nine of its 10 sectors posted gains.
Shares of Canada's Big Five banks had a mixed performance, mirroring movements made in the previous session after Bank of Montreal reported a 16 percent rise in quarterly profit.
Bank of Montreal, whose shares won several price-target upgrades on Wednesday, gained 0.3 percent to C$53.30.
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce rose 1.5 percent to C$69.13. Royal Bank of Canada dipped 0.3 percent to C$57.20, and was the biggest single drag on the index.
Banks are likely to be key drivers of the index in the next two weeks as their results trickle in.
Commodity issues may also extend gains, particularly as the market expects central banks from emerging economies to keep buying bullion from the International Monetary Fund.
"Yearend is only five weeks away, so there's a lot of cash on the sidelines. Investors sitting on a lot of cash may want to get some of that money working." said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.
The index is up about 7 percent this month so far.
Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway