Stock markets pull back on last trading day of 2016 –

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North American equity markets finished the year off with a whimper, as all major indexes in Canada and the U.S. settled in the red.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index lost 134.53 points to close at 15,287.59, weighed down by a broad decline in nearly all sectors.

Despite the weak last trading day, the benchmark Canadian index enjoyed a 17.5 per cent rise during 2016.

Weakness could also be found on Wall Street, as the Dow Jones industrial average lost 57.18 points to 19,762.60. The broader S&P 500 was down 10.43 points to 2,238.83, while the Nasdaq composite declined 48.97 points to 5,383.12.

Propelled in large part by a rally following the Nov. 8 presidential election victory of Donald Trump, the Dow gained more than 13 per cent for 2016. The benchmark index of blue chip stocks came within 13 points of topping the 20,000 mark for the first time, but the rally stalled over the last two weeks of December.

For 2016, the Nasdaq was up more than seven per cent.

The Canadian dollar was the one bright spot on Friday, adding nearly half a cent, or 0.45 of a U.S. cent, to 74.48 cents US. It has racked up 2.23 US cents this year.

For the year, the loonie hit its lowest point on Jan. 20, when it was at 68.21 cents US. Its high point came in late April, when it peaked at 80.02 cents US, according to figures from the Bank of Canada.

Expectations that president-elect Trump’s plan for fiscal stimulus will boost the U.S. dollar, coupled with rising interest rates by the Federal Reserve, have helped send the greenback higher against major currencies.

In commodities, the February contract for crude dipped by five cents to conclude the year at $53.72 US a barrel.

The price of oil, which was above $100 a barrel in 2014, tumbled as low as $26 in February of this year. However, a late-year agreement involving OPEC and non-OPEC members to cut production helped send crude prices higher.

The February gold contract fell $6.50 to $1,158 US an ounce, February natural gas dipped five cents to $3.75 US per mmBTU, and March copper gained two cents to $2.51 US per pound.