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* TSX up 61.02 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,422.12
* Eight of the TSX's 10 main groups advanced
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Thursday as stocks rallied broadly in light holiday trading, closing at the highest level since April 2015.
Gold mining stocks were the most influential movers, helped by bullion prices that rose more than 1 percent to their highest level in more than two weeks.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index rose 61.02 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,422.12. It was the TSX's best close since April 15, 2015.
The top five index movers were all gold miners. Barrick Gold rose 6.8 percent to C$22.12, Silver Wheaton Corp advanced 9.0 percent to C$27.32, while Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd climbed 6.7 percent to C$58.57.
The overall materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 3.6 percent.
"There was big buying that came in at the close and that pushed the gold stocks up," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada. "My expectations are the lows have been seen. The gold stocks are going into 2017 much stronger than people expected."
Of the index's 10 main groups, all but the heavily weighted financials and energy groups gained ground.
"There's a little bit of window dressing going on before the year end. Bank stocks were pretty heavily traded today," Ing said.
The financials group slipped 0.4 percent, dragged lower in part by Toronto Dominion Bank's 0.5 percent decline to C$66.75 and Royal Bank of Canada's 0.4 percent dip to C$91.41.
The energy group retreated 0.3 percent.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the TSX by 168 to 75, for a 2.24-to-1 ratio on the upside.
The index posted five new 52-week highs and no new lows. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Leslie Adler)