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CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits record high as Tim Hortons jumps

* TSX up 45.41 points, or 0.29 percent, at 15,580.96 * Eight of 10 main index sectors advance * Tim Hortons climbs 20 percent on news of merger talks By John Tilak TORONTO, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index reached a record high on Monday as shares of Tim Hortons Inc shot up after the coffee chain confirmed it was in merger talks with Burger King.

Tim Hortons and Burger King said late on Sunday the new company would be the world's third-largest quick service restaurant. It would be based in Canada.

Tim Hortons, which jumped 20 percent, hit a multi-year high and was the most actively traded stock on the exchange.

Investors continued to focus on monetary policy and speculate about the outlook for interest rates, processing recent comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.

The benchmark TSX is up more than 14 percent this year, making it one of the biggest gainers among its global peers.

"Valuations are very expensive," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada. "While the markets are making new highs, the realization that it is a function of the money printing that central banks have gone on is not a secret." "The sentiment has been quite cautious, and that bodes well for the market," he added.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 45.41 points, or 0.29 percent, at 15,580.96. Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added 0.3 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada rising 0.4 percent to C$81.08 and Bank of Nova Scotia climbing 0.5 percent to C$73.86.

Shares of energy companies climbed 0.3 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd advanced 0.6 percent to C$46.55, and TransCanada Corp gained 1.6 percent to C$56.89.

Tim Hortons was up at C$82.83, helping fuel a 1.9 percent rise in the consumer discretionary sector.

(Editing by James Dalgleish)