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The screens at the TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto show the closing numbers of the TSX on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 (Matthew Sherwoo For The Globe and Mai)
The screens at the TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto show the closing numbers of the TSX on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 (Matthew Sherwoo For The Globe and Mai)

At the open: TSX pulls back on lower oil prices Add to ...

The Toronto stock market started lower on Wednesday as oil prices pulled back from recent gains and the European economy showed improvement.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 11.38 points to 12,630.81 shortly after open.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.14 of a cent to 96.82 cents US.

The European Union has proclaimed an end to its longest recession. The 17 countries that use the euro saw economic output grow by 0.3 per cent in the second quarter, the EU statistics office reported Wednesday. It’s the first growth recorded since late 2011.

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On Wall Street, the Dow fell 37.21 points to 15,413.80, the Nasdaq dropped 3.11 points to 3,681.33 and the S&P 500 slid 1.15 points to 1,693.01 In commodities, the September crude contract dropped 30 cents to $106.53 a barrel.

Gold socks were up 2.6 per cent as December gold bullion rose $1.60 to $1,322.10 an ounce. September copper increased less than a cent to $3.32 a pound.

Also on the calendar is a report from the U.S. Labor Department which is expected to post a slight increase in July wholesale prices.

Shares of Canada’s biggest wireless companies remain in the spotlight with attention focused on whether U.S. telecom giant Verizon could set up shop in this country. Industry Minister James Moore posted a tersely worded letter on his website on Tuesday in response to criticism from a board member of BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE), the parent company of Bell.

“I do not believe the public is misinformed,” Moore said as he criticized media campaigns by the Big Three carriers that discourage Verizon’s potential entry into Canada.

“I think Canadians know very well what is at stake and they know dishonest attempts to skew debates via misleading campaigns when they see them.”

The TSX telecom sector was down 0.4 per cent with BCE shares were down five cents to $41.75.

Metro Inc. (TSX:MRU) has unveiled plans to reorganize its Ontario grocery retail network over the coming months, turning 15 stores to the Food Basics discount banner. It’s also agreed to operate Target’s in-store pharmacies in Quebec. The U.S. retailer is expecting to open about 25 stores in the province this fall.

The supermarket chain reported profits were $149.8-million in its third quarter, increasing about four per cent from $144.4-million the same time last year. Sales dropped nearly one per cent to $3.57-billion.

Shares of Metro were down more than three per cent, or $2.34, to $69.61.

Home improvement retailer Rona Inc. (TSX:RON) posted a second-quarter loss of $38.7-million from continuing operations in the second quarter, reversing a profit in the same period last year, as it recognized restructuring costs and impairment charges related to its recovery plan. Sales for the quarter were also down, falling to $1.25-billion from $1.3-billion – missing analyst estimates.

Rona shares fell 29 cents to $10.97.

Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.05 per cent to 6,608.73. Germany’s DAX was 0.2 per cent higher at 8,435.35. France’s CAC-40 rose 0.7 per cent to 4,119.97.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 1.3 per cent to close at 14,050.16. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.6 per cent to 1,923.91. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was nearly unchanged at 5,157.40.

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