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TSX loses monthly winning streak as US rate cut prospects ebb

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

By Fergal Smith

(Reuters) -Canada's main stock index fell on Tuesday, extending its monthly decline, as commodity prices dropped and U.S. labor cost data added to investor concerns that the Federal Reserve would be unlikely to begin cutting interest rates in the coming months.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 297.08 points, or 1.35%, at 21,714.54, For the month, the index was down 2%, its first monthly decline since October.

"The numbers out of the U.S. this morning showed wage inflation remaining sticky," said Allan Small, senior investment advisor of the Allan Small Financial Group with iA Private Wealth. "The Fed doesn't look to be cutting rates anytime soon."

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U.S. stocks also traded lower as markets weighed economic data showing labor costs rose more than expected last quarter on the eve of a key Fed policy meeting.

The energy sector tumbled 3.1% as the price of oil settled 0.9% lower at $81.93 a barrel on the back of rising U.S. crude production as well as hopes of an Israel-Hamas ceasefire.

The materials group, which includes metal miners and fertilizer companies, was also down 3.1% as gold and copper prices fell, with Ivanhoe Mines Ltd tumbling 9.5% after the company reported quarterly results.

Domestic data showed that gross domestic product increased 0.2% in February, which was less than economists had expected.

Restaurant Brands was a bright spot. Its shares gained 3.5% after the company's quarterly results beat analysts' estimates, while the shares of Tilray Brands Inc jumped 41.9% as the U.S. Department of Justice moved to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto and Purvi Agarwal in Bengaluru; Editing by Vijay Kishore and Jonathan Oatis)