TORONTO -- North American stock markets fell slightly as investors continued to take a pause while waiting for signals about a trade deal and the strength of consumer spending.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 6.63 points at 16,999.19.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 54.80 points at 27,766.29. The S&P 500 index was down 4.92 points at 3,103.54, while the Nasdaq composite was down 20.52 points at 8,506.21.

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.27 cents US compared with an average of 75.17 cents US on Wednesday.

The January crude contract was up US$1.57 at US$58.58 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up 1.1 cent at US$2.62 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was down US$10.60 at US$1,463.60 an ounce and the December copper contract was down 2.6 cents at US$2.62 a pound.