CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 2-1/2-year high as gold miners rally

* TSX rises 35.95 points, or 0.26 percent, to 13,867.53
    * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Gold-mining sector jumps 2.4 percent

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
climbed to its highest in 2-1/2 years on Friday after a jump in
the price of bullion boosted Barrick Gold Corp,
Goldcorp Inc and other gold miners, helping offset
weakness in the industrial sector.
    The resource-sensitive Canadian market got a further boost
as higher oil prices lifted shares of energy producers.
    Investors were also tracking data that showed a drop in U.S.
housing starts in December that might have been partly the
result of frigid weather during the month. 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark index, which gained
9.6 percent last year, has advanced in eight of the last nine
    "There's definitely a will to buy equities. There are very
little immediate headwinds," said Kevin Headland, director,
portfolio advisory group, at Manulife Asset Management.
    "Canada seems to be moving higher based on better global
economic data and expectation of the demand for resources," he
    The benchmark S&P/TSX composite index was up 35.95
points, or 0.26 percent, at 13,867.53 after touching 13,871.04,
its highest level since mid-2011.
    Headland, who expects the TSX to add 6-8 percent this year,
said the index will perform more in sync with the U.S. market
than it did in 2013, when the S&P 500's gains were far
    Seven of the TSX index's 10 main sectors were higher on
    Shares of gold producers jumped 2.4 percent. Barrick rose
2.8 percent to C$20.48, and Goldcorp Inc firmed 2 percent
to C$24.87.
    The energy sector was up 0.2 percent, with Suncor Energy Inc
 adding 0.5 percent to C$37.71.
    But the industrial sector gave back 0.2 percent, with
Canadian National Railway Co, the country's largest
rail operator, losing 0.2 percent to C$58.51.