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Weakness in the energy sector pulled North American markets to a lower open Wednesday, as U.S. oil inventories continued to swell.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 0.32 per cent, or 28.64, to 8,887.30. The broader S&P 500 slipped 0.53 per cent, or 5.06 points, to 949.52. Both indexes have closed higher for seven straight sessions.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX fell 1.01 per cent, or 106.31 points, to 10,409.01 as oil fell 2.15 per cent to $64.20 (U.S.) a barrel, after data indicated U.S. inventories grew last week. The energy sub-index lost 3 per cent at the open.

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Investors have received mixed signals through earnings season, with companies clearing low hurdles but continuing to see soft revenue and banks continue to set aside cash to pay for bad loans.

Wednesday, Morgan Stanley reported a $1.2-billion loss. However, Wells Fargo said its profit rose 81 per cent to a record $3.17-billion.

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