TSX clings to weekly gain as investors hope for Santa Claus rally

  • TSX ends down 34.87 points, or 0.2%, at 20,890.62
  • Index posts a 1.2% gain for the week
  • Technology falls 0.6%; healthcare loses 2.7%

TORONTO, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index on Friday fell for a third day as technology and healthcare stocks lost ground, but the index still posted a weekly gain amid optimism that it would benefit from a historically strong period for equities.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index (.GSPTSE) ended down 34.87 points, or 0.2%, at 20,890.62, adding to declines on Wednesday and Thursday. For the week, it was up 1.2%, snapping a three-week losing streak.

"I still think you will have some sort of set up towards a Santa Claus rally toward year-end," said Joseph Abramson, co-chief investment officer at Northland Wealth Management, referring to the tendency for stocks to perform well in the last few days in December.

"This would be a pullback before that."

U.S. data showed consumer prices rising in November at their fastest annual pace since 1982, which could make it more likely the Federal Reserve will speed up the wind-down of its bond purchases at a policy meeting next week. read more

"Even though you will be moving toward tapering, there is still a greater amount of liquid than the economy requires so that excess liquidity needs to go somewhere and it finds its way into markets," Abramson said.

The technology sector fell 0.6%, while healthcare shares ended 2.7% lower. They were weighed by declines for cannabis producers, including a 6% drop in the shares of Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO).

Heavily-weighted financials gained 0.3% as Canada's financial regulator said it was maintaining the amount of capital the country's biggest lenders must hold to guard against risks at 2.50% of risk-weighted assets.

Laurentian Bank (LB.TO) gained 5.7% after reporting earnings results. The bank announced a 10% increase in quarterly dividends and plans of a share buyback.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Anisha Sircar in Bengaluru Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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