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Canada’s main index slipped on Wednesday, weighed down by the heavyweight financial and energy sectors.

The financial sector was down 0.7 per cent as shares of Bank of Nova Scotia and Bank of Montreal both fell between 0.9 per cent, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce slipped 0.8 per cent. Manulife Financial Corp. tumbled 2.2 per cent, while Brookfield Asset Management Inc. closed 1.5 per cent lower.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index finished down 45.23 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 16,049.02.

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Six of the index’s 11 major sectors were lower.

The energy sector fell 0.3 per cent despite a rise in crude oil prices after a drop in U.S. crude inventories and as the prospect of the loss of Iranian supply added to concerns over the delicate balance between consumption and production.

Husky Energy Inc. lost 1.1 per cent, while Suncor Energy Inc. was down 0.99 per cent.

New Gold Inc. jumped 22.3 per cent amid reports it is exploring a sale as it grapples with ballooning development costs and operating challenges at its new mine.

Shares of Bausch Health Companies jumped over 12.8 per cent. The company’s shares rose after it resolved intellectual property litigation related to its bowel disorder drug, Xifaxan, with Actavis Laboratories.

The Canadian dollar strengthened to a near-two-week high against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday, boosted by higher oil prices and optimism that a deal with the United States to renew the NAFTA trade pact would be reached.

The Canadian dollar was trading 0.6 per cent higher at $1.2991 to the greenback, or 76.98 U.S. cents.

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The currency, which has advanced 1.3 per cent so far this week, touched its strongest since Aug. 31 at $1.2981.

The Dow and S&P 500 ended slightly higher on Wednesday after news of a fresh round of U.S.-China trade talks, while the Nasdaq fell following a decline in Apple Inc. shares as the company unveiled larger iPhones but made just minor changes to its offerings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 27.86 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 25,998.92, the S&P 500 gained 1.02 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 2,888.91 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 18.25 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 7,954.23.

Apple shares were down 1.2 per cent. The company also unveiled health-oriented watches based on the design of current models.

Shares of fitness device rival Fitbit Inc fell 6.9 per cent while shares of Garmin Ltd lost some earlier gains and were flat after the launch of Apple’s latest Apple Watch.

“You had the (Apple) announcement, and the typical trader reaction was there wasn’t anything that wasn’t already rumored or expected from the announcement, so some of yesterday’s gains are being given back today,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

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Oil futures rose on Wednesday, with Brent reaching $80 a barrel, after a larger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude inventories and as U.S. sanctions on Iran added to concerns over global oil supply.

Benchmark Brent crude futures rose 68 cents to settle at $79.74 a barrel. The global benchmark earlier reached $80.13 a barrel, its highest level since May 22.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.12 to settle at $70.37 a barrel, a one-week high.

U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.3 million barrels in the last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. Analysts had expected a decrease of 805,000 barrels.

“Today’s crude stock draw of 5.3 million barrels fell far short of the (American Petroleum Institute’s) decline but was significantly larger than the normal draw of around 1 million barrels for this particular week,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a note.

Also supporting prices were supply concerns surrounding U.S. sanctions on Iran. Since the spring, when the Trump Administration said it would impose the sanctions, traders have been focusing on the potential impact on global supply. The sanctions will target Iran’s oil exports from November.

“Iran is increasingly becoming the preoccupation of the crude market. The last couple of weeks have seen the expected squeeze on Iranian crude flows taking shape, with overall outflows down markedly,” consultancy JBC Energy said.

Reuters

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