* TSX up 0.75 percent at 11,464.57
* 8 of index's 10 subgroups rise, energy leads the way (Adds details, comments)
By Cameron French
TORONTO, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index pushed higher on Thursday, helped by strong U.S. and Canadian trade data, as well as a sharp rise in natural gas prices, which drove oil and gas producers higher.
Gas futures jumped 8 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange, spurred by cold weather forecasts and reports of shrinking inventories. [ID:nN10213740]
In Toronto, Suncor Energy SU.TO rose 3.3 percent to C$36.80, while Talisman Energy TLM.TO gained 2.9 percent to C$18.02. The index's energy sector ended the session up 1.79 percent.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed 85.35 points, or 0.75 percent, higher at 11,464.57. Eight of its 10 subgroups rose on the day.
For the second straight day, the index rose sharply in the final hours of trading, which is a sign that cautious investors are gaining confidence at current levels, said Elvis Picardo, analyst at Global Securities in Vancouver.
"It does seem that optimism is getting the upper hand here because you're seeing the market able to hold on to the gains as we go into the close," he said.
That confidence was helped by data showing that Canada unexpectedly returned to a trade surplus in October after three months of deficits [ID:nN10154628], and that the U.S. trade deficit shrank 7.6 percent in the month as a weak U.S. dollar boosted exports. [ID:nN10156007].
($1=$1.05 Canadian) (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway)