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The close: TSX gains for sixth straight day

File photo of a man watching the Toronto stock market activity on a screen posted at 121 King Street in Toronto's financial district.

Michelle/The Globe and Mail

Canada's benchmark index on Wednesday posted its sixth consecutive gain, even as European stocks retreated following weak readings on service-sector activity in June.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed at 11,913.87, up 65.12 points or 0.6 per cent.

The gain follows a big rally on Tuesday, when the index made its biggest one-day move since November. The U.S. market was closed on Wednesday for Independence Day.

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In Europe, stocks were mostly lower: The U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell less than 0.1 per cent and Germany's DAX index fell 0.2 per cent.

Economists expect the European Central Bank will provide some stimulus in the form of a quarter-point rate cut on Thursday.

The reasons behind this expectation, apart from the ongoing sovereign-debt crisis, were made clear: A gauge on Germany's services industrials slumped slightly below a reading of 50, putting it into contraction territory.

At the same time, China's services sector expanded in June, but at its slowest pace in 10 months – underlying growing concerns about the health of the global economy.

Canadian commodity producers, which had led the gains on Tuesday, showed more modest moves on Wednesday.

Among energy stocks, Suncor Energy Inc. rose 1.4 per cent and Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. rose 1.9 per cent. Gold producers were mixed, with Barrick Gold Corp. down 1.6 per cent and Goldcorp Inc. up 1.1 per cent.

TMX Group Inc. rose 3.3 per cent after the Competition Bureau approved a bid for the Toronto Stock Exchange by a group of Canadian Banks.

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