CANADA STOCKS-TSX nears six-year high on U.S. data, gold-mining surge

* TSX rises 38.40 points, or 0.27 percent, to 14,418.95
    * Five of 10 main index sectors advance
    * Osisko soars on Yamana deal
    * Agrium slips after profit warning

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, April 2 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
touched its highest in nearly six years on Wednesday as positive
U.S. economic data supported market sentiment and shares of gold
miners jumped with the price of bullion.
    A report showed U.S. companies picked up the pace of hiring
in March, suggesting the effects of harsh weather might be
starting to taper off and setting the stage for the monthly U.S.
nonfarm payrolls report on Friday. 
    The Toronto market climbed for a fourth straight session. It
is up about 5.8 percent this year and is one of the strongest
performers among major global indices.
    "We've got to get used to extreme volatility, particularly
in commodities," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC
Funds. "But the market is going to sawtooth its way up."
    "On balance, things appear to be moving, slowly but surely,
in a positive trend," he added.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 38.40 points, or 0.27 percent, at 14,418.95.
    "The TSX will probably surprise people," said Michael, who
has been increasing his Canadian investments. "To my mind, the
Canadian market will be a sleeper this year."
    Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on
    Shares of gold producers jumped 3 percent, with Barrick Gold
Corp rising 3.7 percent to C$20.46 and Goldcorp Inc
 gaining 2.9 percent to C$27.86.
    Despite weakness in oil prices, shares of energy companies
advanced. Suncor Energy Inc climbed 0.5 percent to
C$38.81, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd added 0.6
percent to C$42.70. 
    In corporate news, Yamana Gold Inc planned to buy a
50-percent stake in Osisko Mining Corp's mining and
exploration assets for C$930 million ($843 million) in a move to
block a hostile bid from Goldcorp. Osisko shares jumped 8.6
percent to C$7.47, and Yamana added 1.4 percent to C$9.85.
    Agrium Inc said that a big backlog of grain
shipments on Canada's railways and a late start to spring
planting will hurt its first-quarter profits. Shares of the
fertilizer company gave back 1.8 percent to C$105.60.

 (Editing by Nick Zieminski)