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The close: TSX drops in broad retreat led by Cenovus, other energy stocks

Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell on Dec. 13.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Canada's main stock index fell on Thursday in a broad retreat from an all-time high hit a day earlier, as financial stocks and energy companies weighed, with Cenovus Energy Inc down sharply after announcing a fresh round of job cuts.

The energy group retreated 1.4 per cent overall despite higher global oil prices, with Cenovus down 5.1 per cent to $11.26 as the oil sands company also announced the departure of three senior executives.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closes down 120.13 points, or 0.74 per cent, at 16,016.46.

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All 10 of the index's main sectors fell, with decliners outnumbering advancers by a ratio of 2.7-to-1 overall.

The financials group, which accounts for more than a third of the index's weight, lost 0.6 per cent.

Drug company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc fell 11.3 per cent to $25.11 after JPMorgan cut the stock to "underweight."

Bombardier Inc lost 1.9 per cent to $3.07 after the plane and train maker forecast 2018 revenue well short of analysts' estimates.

The largest percentage gainer was Mitel Network Corp , which rose 10.7 per cent to $10.46 after brokerage Craig-Hallum started coverage with a "buy" recommendation.

The Canadian dollar was trading at $1.2755 to the greenback, or 78.40 U.S. cents, up 0.5 per cent.

Canadian government bond prices were lower across a much flatter yield curve, with the two-year down 12 Canadian cents to yield 1.571 per cent and the 10-year declining 16 Canadian cents to yield 1.863 per cent.

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The gap between the 2- and 10-year yields narrowed by 4.7 basis points to a spread of 29.2 basis points, its narrowest since January 2008.

World shares were lower on Thursday after concern from investors over potential obstacles to Republican's tax overhaul and a slate of policy meetings from major central banks in Europe.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.20 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 75.94 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 24,509.49, the S&P 500 lost 10.79 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 2,652.06 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 19.27 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 6,856.53.

While U.S. Congressional Republicans reached a deal on final tax legislation on Wednesday, some policymakers said they were unhappy with the legislation's child tax credit approach.

Equity investors worry that stocks could tumble if the bill, which includes slashing corporate taxes, fails.

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"The fear they can't get corporate tax cuts across the finish line might be causing the market to turn down, despite the strong retail sales and other good economic data," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

Earlier in the day, stocks moved lower after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality rules.

Weakness in bank stocks contributed to a downbeat mood for equities in Europe, and the pan-European STOXX 600 index closed down 0.46 per cent.

On Thursday, both the European Central Bank and Bank of England left interest rates unchanged, as expected. The ECB promised to hold rates low for an extended period and even maintained a pledge to provide more stimulus if needed.

The decisions come a day after a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting where the central bank announced a widely expected interest rate hike, but left its rate outlook for the coming years unchanged.

The Fed's less hawkish statements supported MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, but its gains were pared to 0.18 percent.

The gap between U.S. shorter-dated and longer-dated Treasury yields shrank as surprisingly strong data on retail sales in November supported the view the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates further to keep the economy from overheating.

The yield spread between five-year and 30-year Treasuries was last at 57.0 basis points.

"The yield curve will flatten in the long term," said Matt Freund, head of fixed income strategies at Calamos Investments in Chicago. "The long end of the curve will be well-behaved with the Fed being deliberate in raising short-term rates."

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 1/32 in price to yield 2.3511 per cent, from 2.349 per cent late on Wednesday.

The 30-year Treasury last rose 17/32 in price to yield 2.7094 per cent, from 2.735 per cent late on Wednesday

The euro fell 0.34 per cent after the ECB revised its growth forecasts upward while sticking with its pledge to provide stimulus if needed.

The dollar index, tracking the greenback against a basket of major currencies, rose 0.12 per cent, paring earlier gains on tax legislation concern.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.25 percent at 112.28 per dollar.

In Greece, 10-year government bond yields fell, touching the lowest in almost a decade on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Greece and its euro zone creditors reached a preliminary agreement on reforms Athens needs to roll out under its bailout program, while economic data has proven stronger than anticipated.

U.S. crude rose 0.94 per cent to $57.13 per barrel and Brent was last at $63.40, up 1.54 per cent on the day.

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