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TSX pulls back from record high as winning streak ends

By Fergal Smith
Passersby watch the performance of stocks on a financial news television screen in the business district of Toronto, Canada, January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's benchmark stock index ended its winning streak on Friday, pulling back from the previous day's record high, pressured by losses for the materials group as prices of base and precious metals fell.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index <.GSPTSE> closed down 25.54 points, or 0.16 percent, at 15,838.63. It was the first daily decline since Feb. 6, but the index still ended up 0.7 percent for the week.

"This is perfectly healthy," said Harrison Newlands, research associate at MacNicol & Associates Asset Management Inc.

He sees the pullback as part of a broader market rally, but said the energy sector needs to participate in further gains for the index to relieve some of the burden from the heavyweight financials group.

Energy has fallen more than 6 percent year-to-date, while financials have climbed more than 6 percent and materials nearly 14 percent.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, pulled back 1.4 percent, with First Quantum Minerals slumping 5.5 percent to C$15.00 and Yamana Gold Inc plunging 10.0 percent to C$4.04 after both reported fourth-quarter results on Thursday.

Gold futures fell 0.4 percent to $1,234.8 an ounce and copper prices declined 0.7 percent to $5,959.85 a tonne.

Air Canada reported a bigger quarterly loss and said it expected its margins to halve in the current quarter from a year ago, as fuel costs inch up with the rise in oil prices. Its shares tumbled 8.5 percent to C$13.18.

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd fell more than 2 percent to C$618.00. On Thursday, the company reported a 27.5 percent slump in revenue, weighed down by losses from cuts to equity hedges following the U.S. presidential election.

The overall financials group was little changed, while the energy group was down 0.3 percent after paring losses as oil turned higher.

U.S. crude prices settled up 4 cents at $53.40 a barrel.

Shares of Enbridge Inc fell 0.8 percent to C$54.97. Canada's largest pipeline company reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit as expenses jumped.

Just four of the index's 10 main groups ended higher. Among those groups that gained, telecoms rose 0.6 percent, while consumer discretionary advanced 0.4 percent, helped by a 1.9 percent gain for Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd to C$157.49.

Some analysts raised their target price on Canadian Tire's stock after the company reported strong fourth-quarter and full-year results on Thursday.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by David Gregorio and Leslie Adler)