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The close: TSX falls as oil prices weigh on energy stocks

A TSX tote board is pictured in Toronto in this file photo.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Canada's main stock index finished lower on Thursday, with energy companies pushed lower on falling oil prices.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 58.20 points, or 0.37 per cent at 15,742.20. Seven of the index's 10 primary sectors retreated.

Suncor Energy was the biggest drag on the index, falling 2.2 per cent to $42.06. It was followed by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., which declined 2 per cent to $40.66.

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The overall sector retreated 1.7 per cent, as oil prices fell amid higher U.S. fuel inventories.

Other influential decliners included Shaw Communications Inc , which slid 3.6 per cent to $28.54, and Kirkland Lake Gold , which slumped 8.9 per cent to $16.85.

Desjardins cut its rating on Kirkland Lake to "hold" from "buy" after the company released quarterly and production results.

The overall materials sector, where miners and other resource companies reside, lost 0.2 per cent.

On the positive side, Alimentation Couche-Tard rose 3.9 per cent to $61.24. The company is buying back 4.4 million of its shares that were held by Metro Inc and Eight Capital upgraded the company to a "buy" from "neutral," citing positive trends. The overall consumer staples sector added 0.9 per cent.

U.S. Treasury yields dipped and the dollar rose slightly on Thursday as investors awaited U.S. inflation data while Wall Street stock indexes fell as earnings season kicked off with a whimper.

U.S. Treasury prices gained after the Treasury Department saw strong demand for a sale of 30-year bonds.

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While investors cheered an increase in the U.S. producer price index (PPI) for last month announced Thursday, inflation concerns were still in focus ahead of consumer price index (CPI) data on Friday after Federal Reserve minutes showed a more guarded view.

After four straight days of declines, the dollar index, tracking the greenback against a basket of major currencies , rose 0.07 percent.

"The move in the dollar index this week is primarily a correction to the big move that we had in September," said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman. "It's largely corrective as the market awaits fresh signals."

Adding to this pressure, sterling jumped to its highest since Oct. 4, with analysts citing a report in Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper that the European Union could offer Britain a two-year transitional Brexit deal. Sterling was last trading at $1.3261, up 0.30 per cent on the day.

In U.S. stocks, banks and media companies were the biggest drags on the S&P 500 as AT&T Inc fueled concerns about video subscribers and investors took fright at comments from JPMorgan and Citigroup's earnings calls.

"People got a little bit spoiled by the very nice advances we saw in the first and second quarter, but keep in mind that earnings started perking up in the third quarter of last year so the year-over-year comparisons might not look as robust," said John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management in Boston.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 31.88 points, or 0.14 per cent, to end at 22,841.01, the S&P 500 lost 4.31 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 2,550.93 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 12.04 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 6,591.51.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.01 per cent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.04 per cent. The MSCI index reached a record high, as it has for seven of the past eight trading days.

Benchmark 10-year notes were last up 7/32 in price to yield 2.3195 per cent, from 2.345 per cent late on Wednesday.

The 30-year bond was last up 15/32 in price to yield 2.8483 per cent, from 2.876 per cent late on Wednesday.

Also in currencies, the euro was down 0.15 per cent to $1.1839 snapping four straight days of gains after rising to its highest since Sept. 25 earlier in the session.

Bitcoin smashed through the $5,000 barrier for the first time and was up 10.1 per cent.

Oil prices fell after the U.S. Energy Department reported a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. inventories and a falloff in weekly production.

U.S. crude fell 1.29 per cent to $50.64 per barrel and Brent was last at $56.32, down 1.09 per cent.

Spot gold added 0.1 per cent to $1,293.37 an ounce.

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