(Adds details on specific stocks, updates prices)
* TSX up 58.45 points, or 0.38 percent, to 15,447.40
* Valeant shares soar 9.1 percent on asset sales
* Seven of the TSX’s 10 main groups move higher
TORONTO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Canada’s benchmark stock index rose in morning trade on Tuesday as materials stocks gained with higher commodity prices and drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc surged as it sold assets.
At 10:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index rose 58.45 points, or 0.38 percent, to 15,447.40.
Shares in Valeant rose 9.1 percent to C$22.14 after the drugmaker said it is selling its Dendreon cancer business and three skincare brands for about $2.12 billion as it looks to pay down its more than $30 billion debt.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.7 percent as copper prices jumped and gold and silver also gained.
Among the most influential movers on the index were First Quantum Minerals Ltd, which rose 8.7 percent to C$15.68, and Teck Resources Ltd, which added 6.8 percent to C$29.35.
Seven of the index’s 10 main groups rose, although the heavyweight financial and energy groups were flat to barely higher, with advancers outnumbering decliners overall by a 1.74-to-1 ratio.
Oilfield services company Savanna Energy Services Corp rose 2.4 percent to C$2.15 as it said it would open its books to potential suitors this week.
Gildan Activewear shares gained 3.2 percent to C$34.49 after it said it won a bankruptcy auction to buy U.S. fashion retailer American Apparel for about $88 million in cash.
Department store operator Hudson’s Bay Co fell 10.4 percent to C$10.45 after it cut its full-year revenue forecast.
Copper prices advanced 3.1 percent to $5,763 a tonne, while gold futures rose 0.5 percent to $1,188.9 an ounce.
Canadian housing starts rose more sharply than expected in December and November building permits were also firmer than anticipated, separate reports showed on Tuesday, suggesting Canada’s long housing boom may not be over. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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