* TSX up 0.44 percent at 11,678.83
* RIM shares down after service outages
* FNX Mining up on production announcement (Adds details, comments)
By Irene Kuan
TORONTO, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was up on Wednesday in holiday-thinned trade, boosted by stronger commodity prices and a mix of recent economic data from Canada and the United States.
Powerhouse gold producer Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) climbed 2.9 percent to C$42.38 on surging bullion prices, while Goldcorp (G.TO) was up 3.8 percent at C$42.25 and Kinross Gold (K.TO) rose 2.3 percent to C$19.65.
“We’re coming up to the end of the year, and the U.S. dollar has had nine successive days of ups, so that’s depressed the gold price. But it appears today the downward pressures (on gold) are alleviating so we’ve got a bounce,” said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.
At 11:45 a.m. (1645 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 50.85 points, or 0.44 percent, at 11,678.83.
Gold prices gained nearly 1 percent on Wednesday, bouncing off from a seven-week low struck in the previous session.
Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil prices rose above $76 a barrel after inventory data showed crude stocks fell much more than expected last week. [GOL/][O/R]
Nickel and copper producer FNX Mining FNX.TO climbed 1.5 percent to C$11.59 after the company said it expected a 31 percent increase in 2010 ore production. [ID:nSGE5BM0IP]
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion RIM.TO was also in focus after the company’s messaging service suffered widespread delays across North and South America on Tuesday evening, just a week after another outage struck the network. [ID:nN23149999] Shares of RIM were down 0.7 percent at C$70.70.
The TSX’s rise followed a broader trend of equity strengthening after recent data bolstered optimism about a solid economic recovery. The index has jumped more than 50 percent since hitting a five-year low in early March.
In economic news, a report showed on Wednesday that Canada’s economy grew for the second consecutive month in October, the first back-to-back gains since late 2007, in a sign that the recovery is slowly taking hold after a painful recession. [ID:nN23149061]
Analysts said trading will be thin for the remainder of the year.
“All moves are set to be exaggerated at the end of the year,” said Ing, noting that the swings should return to normal after the New Year holiday.
The TSX will close for the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays at 1 p.m. on Thursday, reopening on Tuesday, Dec. 29.
$1=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Irene Kuan; editing by Rob Wilson