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(FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
(FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

At the open: TSX down sharply as gold falls; BlackBerry jumps Add to ...

The Toronto stock market shifted lower on Tuesday despite promising trade data, particularly from the United States.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 132.87 points to 12,470.38, after being closed for the Civic holiday on Monday.

The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.04 of a cent to 96.29 cents US after Statistics Canada said the trade deficit was $469-million in June, a decline from a revised $781-million deficit a month earlier.

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Meanwhile, south of the border, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in June to its lowest level in more than 3 1/2 years. The Commerce Department says the June deficit fell 22.4 per cent to $34.2-billion. That’s the lowest since October 2009 and down from May’s imbalance of $44.1-billion, which was revised down.

On Wall Street, the Dow was down 86.15 points to 15,525.98, the Nasdaq fell 14.30 points to 3,678.65 and the S&P 500 was down 6.66 points to 1,700.48.

In commodities, December gold pulled back $21.70 to $1,280.70 (U.S.) an ounce, bringing the TSX gold sector down 3.6 per cent. September copper rose for a third day, ahead 1.7 cents to $3.19.

The September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange moved down $1.06 to $105.50 a barrel.

BlackBerry shares were 8.5 per cent higher on the TSX, up 79 cents to $10.06, after Samsung announced that BlackBerry Messenger is headed to its smartphones in Africa. The BBM service is expected to rollout across Android and Apple’s iPhones in the coming months.

Stocks appear to have come off the boil in recent sessions as the run of corporate and economic news that marked the turn of the month has slowed down. With August traditionally a low-volume trading month, many analysts think stocks may drift over the coming period.

The main focus in markets remains on when the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to reduce its monetary stimulus. At present, the Fed is buying $85-billion worth of financial assets a month in an attempt to keep long-term borrowing rates low and inspire growth. Economists remain divided whether the Fed will start the so-called tapering in September or wait until later in the year.

In earnings, Molson Coors Brewing Co. delivered a bigger profit in the second quarter, handily beating analyst estimates. The North American beer maker says its profit from continuing operations in the second quarter was $276.7-million (U.S.), or $1.50 per share or $1.51 with discontinued operations included. Analysts had estimated $1.38 per share of adjusted earnings and $1.41 of net income. Its shares were up $1.31 to $54.

And WestJet says its July load factor slipped to 83.1 per cent as traffic increased 8.3 per cent and capacity grew 11.1 per cent over the month last year. Shares of the company gained six cents to $21.42.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was more or less unchanged at 6,619 while Germany’s DAX rose 0.3 per cent to 8,430. The CAC-40 in France was 0.2 per cent higher at 4,057. For the U.S. opening, both Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures were expected to open steady.

Earlier, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 finished 1 per cent higher at 14,401.06 but South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.5 per cent to 1,906.62. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.3 per cent to 21,923.70, dragged down by HSBC Holdings, which plunged 5 per cent a day after the bank reported weaker-than-expected revenue for the first half of the year.

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