November 29, 2013 / 1:22 PM / in 4 years

GDP data, gold stocks take TSX higher

People attend a market open ceremony for the Toronto Stock Exchange at the TSX Broadcast Centre in Toronto June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index advanced on Friday in low-volume trading, boosted by a pick-up in the rate of economic activity and a jump in gold-mining shares after the price of bullion rose.

Data showed Canada’s economy recording third-quarter growth at its fastest pace in two years, helped by consumer spending and business inventory accumulation.

Climbing for a third straight session, the Toronto market posted its fifth consecutive monthly gain, the index’s biggest streak of monthly advances in more than a year.

Trading was sluggish on the day following the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, with U.S. markets having an abbreviated trading day.

“It seems quite clear that the economy is picking up steam and is well positioned for next year,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

“We expect the typical post-Thanksgiving sentiment to continue,” he added. “It’s usually a strong phase for equity markets, and we don’t see any reason why it should be any different this time.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 24.57 points, or 0.18 percent, at 13,395.40.

About 216 million shares changed hands, compared with an average daily volume of about 294 million shares in October, according to market operator TMX Group.

The benchmark is up about 7.5 percent this year.

Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Friday.

Gold-mining shares jumped 1.3 percent, mirroring an increase in the price of bullion. <GOL/> Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) advanced 1 percent to C$17.61.

Shares of energy producers, benefiting from a higher U.S. crude oil price, gained 0.4 percent. Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) was up 0.3 percent at C$36.42, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) climbed 0.5 percent to C$34.58.

In corporate news, an Australian regulator put on hold Saputo Inc’s (SAP.TO) bid for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co WCB.AX. Saputo’s stock was up 0.2 percent at C$48.42.

With a group of investors moving to acquire Atrium Innovations Inc ATB.TO, shares of the dietary supplements maker shot up 23.9 percent to C$24.25.

Editing by Chris Reese and Dan Grebler

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