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TSX gains 2% for the week as investors eye seasonal boost

FILE PHOTO: The facade of the original Toronto Stock Exchange building is seen in Toronto

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Friday to its highest closing level in more than five months, helped by gains for the utility and financial sectors, as investors looked to seasonal trends that could boost the market.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 39.7 points, or 0.2%, at 20,383.77, its highest closing level since June 9.

For the week, it was up 2% as the Federal Reserve signals that it could slow the pace of interest rate hikes as soon as next month, boosting stock markets globally.

The TSX has rallied about 14% since October.

"Most sectors are participating in this rally, despite the negative headlines and extraordinary pessimism because of this positive seasonality which is going to continue as we enter December," said Brandon Michael, senior analyst at ABC Funds.

U.S. equities traditionally rally during the month of December. Major U.S. indexes ended mixed on Friday in a subdued holiday-shortened trading session as investors watched Black Friday sales and COVID-19 cases in China.

The Toronto market's utility sector rose 1.2%, while heavily weighted financials ended 0.3% higher.

Capping gains for the Toronto market was a decline of 0.8% for the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies.

It was pressured by a 9.8% drop in the shares of Lithium Americas Corp.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)