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Canada’s main stock index remained flat on Thursday, as robust earnings by a handful of companies helped offset losses in energy shares.

At 11:30 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index was up 2.71 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 15,372.14.

Five of the index’s 11 major sectors were higher, led by gains in the consumer discretionary sector, which rose 2.1 per cent.

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Strong earnings reports from auto parts maker Magna International Inc. and retailer Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. helped lift the consumer discretionary sector.

Magna shares gained more than 5 per cent, while Canadian Tire jumped nearly 9.5 per cent.

The financial sector rose 0.4 per cent after two of Canada’s biggest insurers, Manulife Financial Corp and Sun Life Financial, posted third-quarter earnings that surpassed market expectations, helped by sales growth in Asia.

But, the energy sector was flat after oil prices edged lower, as investors focused on the pace of growth in global crude supply, which is increasing more quickly than many had expected.

The industrials sector edged down 0.5 per cent after shares in Bombardier Inc. fell 14.4 per cent. The company said it would sell two of its units for $900-million and cut about 5,000 jobs.

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners, lost 0.1 per cent as copper and gold prices fell on a firming dollar.

Top percentage gainers on the TSX included shares of Pason Systems Inc., which jumped 13.4 per cent after reporting quarterly revenue that surpassed expectations.

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Altus Group Ltd. fell 10.5 per cent after posting quarterly results that fell below expectations.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq edged lower on Thursday, as weak earnings reports and caution ahead of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision stalled a rally from the previous session, which was spurred by the outcome for midterm elections.

Among the biggest deliners on the S&P 500 were Perrigo Co , Wynn Resorts Ltd and D.R. Horton Inc, all falling on disappointing quarterly results.

Qualcomm Inc dropped 7.1 per cent after the chipmaker forecast sales revenue for the holiday quarter below analysts’ estimates, as it took a hit from the loss of chip sales to Apple Inc.

Technology stocks, that rallied the most on Wednesday, dipped 0.4 per cent.

The S&P banking index was up 0.9 per cent, with Bank of America Corp rising 1.8 per cent and JPMorgan Chase & Co gaining 1 per cent ahead of the Fed decision.

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Financials were among the few gainers, with the broader market dipping after a 2-per-cent surge on Wednesday as investors braced for a political gridlock in Washington.

“The market is going to go into a trading range for a while...(yesterday) was relief that there wouldn’t be any severe economic changes for the next couple of years,” said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co in Sarasota, Florida.

“The Fed may give some indication of what they’re going to do in December, that might be holding the market back.”

The U.S. central bank, which is set to release its rate decision at 2:00 pm ET, is expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but the statement that follows could lay the ground for a fourth rate hike in December as well as next year.

Among the biggest decliners on the S&P 500 were Perrigo Co , Wynn Resorts Ltd and D.R. Horton Inc, all falling on disappointing quarterly results..33 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 25.53 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 7,545.23.

Gains in Walgreen Boots Alliance Inc and Intel Corp lifted the Dow.

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Wynn Resorts fell 12.1 percent after the casino operator missed third-quarter profit estimate and warned of a slowdown in the key Macau market. That hit shares of peers Melco Resorts and MGM Resorts

D.R. Horton fell 6.2 per cent and dragged on other homebuilders after it warned of rising home prices and higher mortgage rates weighing on demand. The PHLX Housing index fell 1.8 per cent.

Perrigo Co plunged 14.9 per cent after the generic drugmaker cut full-year earnings forecast on lowered expectations from its prescription pharmaceuticals.

The top gainer on the S&P 500 was TripAdvisor Inc, which jumped 15.6 per cent after the hotel search website reported better-than-expected third-quarter profit.

Reuters

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