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TSX edges lower as financials, industrials outweigh energy

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Canada’s benchmark stock index edged lower on Tuesday as financials and industrials led declines, but the TSX climbed off its lows for the session as higher oil prices boosted energy shares.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 15.79 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 15,149.57. It touched its lowest intraday since July 11 at 15,086.30.

The collapse in the U.S. Senate of a key health-care bill was a headwind.

“It puts the fiscal policy agenda in jeopardy,” said Ben Jang, portfolio manager at Nicola Wealth Management. “The market isn’t really pricing in any potential economic growth from Trump policy.”

Canada sends most of its exports to the United States and could benefit from U.S. fiscal stimulus.

Some of Canada’s biggest banks were among the most influential losers on the index. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO 0.45%) fell 0.5 per cent to $94.68, while the overall financials group slipped 0.2 per cent.

The Bank of Canada last week raised interest rates for the first time in seven years. Investors worry that higher interest rates will add to a slowdown in Canada’s real estate market and weigh on the country’s economy.

The impact will be broad-based because Canadians will spend less as the housing market slows, Jang said.

The rise in rates has helped push the Canadian dollar to a 14-month high, which could hamper exporters.

Industrials fell 0.4 percent, with Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO 0.45%) down nearly one per cent at $206.29. Shares of the railroad company, which will report earnings on Wednesday, have fallen more than two per cent since the start of the week.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.2 per cent, retreating after solid gains the day before.

Just three of the index’s 10 main groups ended higher. Energy rose 0.4 per cent, boosted by higher oil prices.

U.S. crude oil prices settled 0.8 per cent higher at US$46.40 a barrel as Saudi exports fell and solid demand soaked up some of what is seen as an oversupplied market.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO 1.58%) rose 1.2 per cent to $37.76, while Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO 1.64%) gained 0.5 per cent to $37.57.

Lending to Canadian small businesses picked up in May on stronger activity in the agriculture and consumer sectors, data showed, suggesting companies were becoming more willing to invest two years after a slump in oil prices hit the economy.