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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

At the open: HBC stock leaps; TSX little changed Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was little changed Monday as traders look to a busy week of economic data and corporate earnings and a major acquisition in the U.S. by Hudson’s Bay Co.

HBC stock ran ahead about 7 per cent to $17.75 as it announced it is buying luxury retailer Saks Inc. in a friendly deal worth $2.9-billion (U.S.). It is paying $16 per Saks share plus assumed debt. HBC’s other holdings include The Bay and Lord & Taylor in the U.S.

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The S&P/TSX composite index gained 8.84 points to 12,639.06. The Canadian dollar was off 0.02 of a cent to 97.32 cents (U.S.).

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 39.54 points or 0.25 per cent, to 15,519.29, the S&P 500 lost 4.67 points or 0.28 per cent, to 1,686.98 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.58 points or 0.1 per cent, to 3,609.59.

The main investor focus is Wednesday’s statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which will be combed for clues on when the Fed will begin to pare its $85-billion in monthly asset purchases. The Fed is most likely to begin tapering its stimulus in September, according to a Reuters poll of economists conducted on July 22.

Until recently, investors have embraced average or weak data with the expectation that the Fed will continue to stimulate the economy and put a floor on stock prices. However, the prospect of a slightly less accommodative Fed in the near future has increased the market’s need for a stronger economy.

Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes fell in June, retreating from a more than six-year high touched in May, suggesting rising mortgage rates were starting to dampen home sales.

Data on the housing and industrial sectors are scheduled in the first half of the week, followed by gross domestic product for the second quarter on Wednesday and the key payrolls report on Friday.

U.S. oil fell 10 cents to $104.60 after settling 79 cents down in the previous session. Gold declined as investors took profits after three weeks of gains and attention turned to a U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting later in the week, which is expected to reaffirm its stance to keep interest rates near zero.

Spot gold fell 0.2 per cent to $1,330.36 an ounce, after briefly turning positive earlier. Last week it regained the $1,300 level for the first time in a month. Prices posted a combined 9 per cent over the last three weeks. U.S. gold futures for August rose $9.00 to $1,330.20 an ounce.

Prices of U.S. Treasuries slipped as investors waited for this week’s Federal Reserve policy statement and key economic data due in the second half of the week.

Traders said the prospect of some large corporate debt issuance this week and related rate-lock selling weighed on Treasury prices.

Benchmark 10-year notes slipped 4/32 in price, their yields edging up to 2.59 per cent from 2.57 per cent late on Friday. Ten-year yields have ranged from around 2.43 per cent to 2.63 per cent in the last two weeks, after hitting two year highs of 2.76 per cent on July 8.

– With files from Reuters

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