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Canada’s main stock index ended higher on Thursday as industrial and energy shares climbed, but a pullback in the consumer staples sector limited the advance.

The S&P/TSX composite index ended up 2.7 points at 20,116.66, marking its second straight day of modest gains.

Trading activity was lighter than usual with U.S. markets closed for the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Industrials added 0.5%, while the energy sector was up 0.3%, even as the price of oil fell nearly 1% to US$76.35 a barrel. It extended losses on expectations that OPEC+ might not deepen output cuts next year after the producer group Wednesday postponed its policy meeting to Nov. 30.

Producers were struggling to agree on output levels ahead of the meeting originally set for Nov. 26, OPEC+ sources said, suggesting that the disagreement was largely linked to African nations.

OPEC+ members Angola and Nigeria are aiming for higher oil output, officials told Reuters on Thursday.

“We think Nigeria can be assuaged as the leadership values its longstanding OPEC membership and improving ties with Saudi Arabia,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Helima Croft. “However, it may be more difficult to bridge the gap with Angola, which has been a moodier member of the producer group since it joined in 2007.”

The downside move looked overdone and the market will likely rally somewhat next week once traders return from the Thanksgiving holiday, said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

The questions over OPEC+ supply come as data showed that U.S. crude stocks jumped by 8.7 million barrels last week, much more than the 1.16 million build analysts had expected.

On the demand side, there was more bleak news. Though a survey showed the downturn in euro zone business activity eased in November, data suggested the bloc’s economy will contract again this quarter as consumers continue to rein in spending.

Elsewhere on the TSX Thursday, the consumer staples sector gave back some of the previous day’s advance, falling nearly 1%.

Empire Company shares were down 3.5% after National Bank of Canada downgraded its rating on the food retail and distribution firm’s stock.

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, also ended lower, down 0.3%.

In economic news, a preliminary estimate showed Canadian wholesale trade most likely fell 1.1% in October from September, adding to recent evidence of a slowdown in the economy.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 is nearing a fresh high for 2023 and both it and MSCI’s all-country world index are both up more than 8% this month alone. For the MSCI world index, that is the best showing since November 2020 when COVID-19 vaccine hopes were driving markets wild. The TSX has risen 6.5% so far this month.

Reuters, Globe staff

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