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The close: TSX win streak ends as Shopify, energy weigh

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 201

Mark Blin/Reute

Canada's benchmark stock index dipped on Wednesday, breaking a five-session stretch of gains, pressured by a sharp fall in shares of online retail platform Shopify Inc and losses in the energy sector as oil fell.

Shopify, which was the most influential mover on the index, slid 11.5 per cent to C$128.95 after short-seller Citron Research commented negatively about the company.

The overall information technology group retreated 1.3 per cent, while energy dropped 0.6 per cent as a surprise jump in U.S. crude exports fanned worries about global oversupply.

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U.S. crude prices settled 0.9 per cent lower at $49.98 a barrel and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd also lost 0.9 per cent, to end at C$41.87.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed down 7.51 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 15,721.

"It's a breather" after a very strong run, said Ian Nakamoto, equity specialist at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier, a division of Raymond James.

The index has rallied more than 5 per cent since August, moving within range of its February record peak at 15,943.09.

"I expect to take that out by the end of the year," Nakamoto said. "The stars are all lining up for Canada."

Solid growth in many major countries is boosting the outlook for commodity-linked shares and investors are embracing high dividend paying stocks, Nakamoto added.

The resources group accounts for 30 per cent of the TSX's weight, while the shares of financials, which tend to pay high dividends, account for nearly 35 per cent.

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Financials ended near flat on Wednesday. But the materials sector, which includes miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.6 per cent as gold prices rose.

Franco Nevada Corp climbed 1.1 per cent to C$98.34.

Just four of the index's 10 main sector groups ended lower. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 137 to 105, for a 1.30-to-1 ratio on the upside.

Wall Street extends run of record highs; services data upbeat

U.S. stocks edged up to extend their run of record closing highs on Wednesday as data on the services sector added to signs of strength in the economy and prospects for earnings.

It was the third straight session of record closing highs for the three major indexes, though the small-cap Russell 2000 broke its string of eight all-time high finishes, ending down 0.3 per cent.

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Market gains were limited as a decline in oil prices weighed on energy shares, and the S&P information technology index, up about 26 per cent this year, posted its first drop in seven sessions. The S&P energy index was down 0.1 per cent and the technology index was down 0.2 per cent.

The vast U.S. services sector overcame hurricane-related snags to expand at its fastest pace in 12 years.

"It's been an overall quiet market, and I think it's waiting for the earnings season and maybe some bigger economic data," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

"We've seen economic data, especially manufacturing data both here in the United States as well as globally, better, so it should be a better earnings season."

Analysts expect third-quarters earnings of S&P 500 companies rose 5.5 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data. That would be down from double-digit growth in the first two quarters but many strategists are optimistic results will be better than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19.97 points, or 0.09 per cent, to end at 22,661.64, the S&P 500 gained 3.16 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 2,537.74 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.91 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 6,534.63.

Stocks have been hitting record highs on stronger economic data and President Donald Trump's tax overhaul plan. On Monday, data showed a measure of U.S. manufacturing activity surged to a near 13-1/2-year high in September.

The rest of the week is loaded with economic data, culminating in Friday's nonfarm payrolls report for September.

Allaying fears of fresh turmoil in the Trump administration, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denied reports he considered resigning.

Investors had worried that another administration departure could weigh on Trump's efforts to push through the tax reform program, a key 2016 campaign promise.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned on Sept. 29 following an uproar over his use of costly private charter planes for government business.

Shares of Mylan surged 16.2 per cent after U.S. regulators approved its copycat version of Teva's blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug. Teva Pharmaceutical slumped 14.6 per cent. The S&P healthcare index was up 0.5 per cent.

Wells Fargo was down 1.1 per cent after the bank said it would refund some mortgage rate lock extension fees.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.05-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.01-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

About 5.8 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges. That compares with the 6.3 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

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