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TSX adds to monthly gain as investors rotate holdings

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

By Fergal Smith

(Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended higher on Friday, adding to its monthly gain, as domestic economic data boosted prospects of the Bank of Canada beginning interest rate cuts and investors rotated into more defensive areas of the market.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 197.41 points, or 0.89%, at 22,269.12.

For the month of May, the TSX was up 2.55%. It posted a record closing high of 22,468.16 on May 21.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see more consolidation just given the magnitude of the strength that we've seen across many sectors and many areas," said Sid Mokhtari, chief market technician for CIBC Capital Markets.

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"We are seeing some rotation out of technology ... We're seeing some of it being pulled back into industrials, some of the staples, areas where they can be perceived as defensive."

The industrials group added 1.55% and consumer staples ended 0.89% higher. Energy was up 1.21% even as the price of oil settled 1.2% lower at $76.99 a barrel ahead of an OPEC+ meeting on Sunday.

Money markets are pricing in an 80% chance that the BoC begins an easing campaign at a policy announcement next Wednesday after data showed the Canadian economy expanding at a slower-than-expected annualized pace of 1.7% in the first quarter.

Canadian banks are bracing for a few months of uncertainty with loan loss provisions expected to rise if interest rates remain elevated, according to executives from major lenders.

Laurentian Bank of Canada reported a loss for the second quarter, sending its shares down 6.52%.

The materials group, which includes metal miners and fertilizer companies, ended 0.58% lower as gold and copper prices fell.

Investment industry participants in Canada have successfully transitioned to a shorter securities settlement standard, the Canadian Capital Markets Association said in a statement.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto and Khushi Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shreya Biswas and Josie Kao)