By Fergal Smith
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Wednesday, giving back some of its recent gains, as investors grew more worried about the economic outlook following disappointing U.S. data and after aggressive central bank interest rate hikes last year.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 81.23 points, or 0.4%, at 20,376.23.
It follows eight straight days of gains for the index, its longest winning streak in 15 months, that had lifted it to its highest closing level since Dec. 2.
Wall Street's main indexes also fell, ending with much deeper losses than for the Toronto market, as U.S. retail sales and factory production declined more than expected in December, and after hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials.
"As we see the Bank of Canada and the U.S. Federal Reserve's existing rate hikes filtering through the economy, it suggests that we're going to continue to see slower growth," said Angelo Kourkafas, investment strategist at Edward Jones Investments.
"This combination of falling inflation and slowing growth means that the BoC is likely to hike one last time and then pause."
Money markets see a 70% chance that the Bank of Canada would tighten by 25 basis points at an interest rate decision next Wednesday.
The Toronto market's energy sector fell 0.9% as oil settled 0.9% lower at $79.48 a barrel. Heavily-weighted financials lost 0.5% and industrials were down 0.8%.
Shares of gold miner Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd slumped 16.7% after the company reported lower-than expected production in the fourth-quarter.
Still, the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.8%, limiting the TSX's decline.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Shristi Achar A and Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler)