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Traders work at the post that handles National Bank of Greece on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, May 31, 2013, in New York. Stocks are heading slightly lower in early trading after the government reported that Americans cut back on their spending last month, a discouraging sign for the economy. (Richard Drew/AP)
Traders work at the post that handles National Bank of Greece on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, May 31, 2013, in New York. Stocks are heading slightly lower in early trading after the government reported that Americans cut back on their spending last month, a discouraging sign for the economy. (Richard Drew/AP)

At the open: TSX moves lower on mixed China data Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was slightly lower Monday as traders sorted through conflicting views of China’s manufacturing sector.

The S&P/TSX composite index was off 14.58 points to 12,635.84.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.16 of a cent to 96.61 cents U.S.

U.S. indexes were mixed as traders looked ahead to the most up-to-date snapshot of the American manufacturing sector. The Institute for Supply Management’s Index is being released mid-morning and is expected to ease to 50.5, down slightly from April’s reading of 50.7.

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The Dow Jones Industrials ran up 40.57 points to 15,156.14, the Nasdaq declined 11.72 points to 3,444.19 and the S&P 500 index was down 1.54 points to 1,629.2.

HSBC’s monthly purchasing managers’ index for China fell to 49.2 in May. That’s down from 50.4 in April. Readings below 50 indicate a contraction.

A similar government-sanctioned survey released Saturday that found manufacturing ticked up slightly in the world’s second-biggest economy. That report by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing found manufacturing edged up to 50.8.

The contrasting reports could be a sign of a two-speed recovery.

Bigger companies and ones that cater to China’s domestic market are more strongly represented by the official PMI while smaller private companies focused on exports are better covered by HSBC and research firm Markit’s report.

Oil and copper prices rose despite the conflicting Chinese data with the July crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange up 84 cents to $92.81 (U.S.) a barrel after a weak global economic outlook depressed prices more than two per cent last week.

But the energy sector was the biggest TSX decliner, down 0.45 per cent. Canadian Natural Resources gave back 32 cents to $30.58 (Canadian dollars).

The base metals sector rose 0.23 per cent while July copper gained two cents to US$3.32 a pound. HudBay Minerals was ahead 13 cents to $8.38.

The gold sector was up 0.45 per cent as August bullion on the Nymex erased early slight gains to slip $1.30 to US$1,391.70 an ounce. Iamgold improved by nine cents to $5.52.

Centerra Gold Inc. shares were up a dime to $3.92 after it said it expects the Kumtor mine in eastern Kyrgyzstan to achieve its 2013 production target despite last week’s shutdown caused by protests calling for nationalization of the operation. Centerra said on Sunday that the mine and mill had resumed operations. Kumtor is the largest foreign-owned gold mine in the former Soviet Union.

The tech sector advanced 0.7 per cent with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates climbed $1.72 to $71.45.

A new code of conduct unveiled by the CRTC says that wireless customers will be able to cancel their cellphone contracts after two years without any penalties even if they’ve signed up for longer terms. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says the new code will apply to new wireless contracts starting Dec. 2. The TSX telecom sector was off 0.3 per cent.

The Toronto market dipped a slight 23 points last week while the Dow Industrials gave back 1.22 per cent as cracks started to show up in a rally that has gone on practically non-stop since late last year.

Trading was volatile amid doubts about how long the U.S. Federal Reserve will carry on with its program of quantitative easing. The so-called QE3 involves the Fed buying up US$85-billion of bonds every month to keep long term rates low and encourage lending.

In other corporate news, drug manufacturer Patheon Inc. had a profit of $100,000 in the second quarter, an improvement from a 79.6-million loss a year earlier, when it recorded a $57.9-million impairment charge. Revenue rose 40 per cent to $253.9-million, with about $54.6-million of the increase due to an acquisition. Its shares dropped 10 cents to $5.60.

Canadian Pacific was 46 cents lower to $137.38 as it said there is no indication that a freight train derailment east of Sudbury on Sunday poses a danger to the public or the environment. CP said Sunday one of the rail cars derailed and as a result struck a trestle bridge near the community of Wanup.

Indonesia’s government has ordered that production be halted at a giant gold and copper mine owned by Freeport-McMoRan during an investigation into recent fatal accidents there. The probe into operations at its Grasberg mine is expected to take two to three months.

European bourses were mixed amid data that suggested the eurozone may be stabilizing somewhat. The monthly manufacturing purchasing managers’ index from financial information company Markit rose to 48.3 points in May from the initial estimate of 47.8.

London’s FTSE 100 index declined 1.53 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX was up 0.09 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 dipped 0.01 per cent.

Turkey’s main stock market posted the biggest fall amid protests against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Borsa Istanbul 100 Index was down more than eight per cent as investors worried about the destabilizing effect of the demonstrations on the economy.

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