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At the open: Nasdaq jitters send TSX lower Add to ...

The Toronto Stock Exchange shifted lower in early trading as the technology sector felt reverberations from concerns on the Nasdaq.

The S&P/TSX composite index moved 31.41 points lower to 14,361.69 shortly after open.

Info tech stocks were a major decliner, after the sector took a drubbing on the Nasdaq last week. Traders are concerned that big technology stocks like Yahoo and Facebook are overvalued.

The Nasdaq fell 22.39 points to 4,105.33 in early trading – adding to the loss of 110 points on Friday.

The Dow Jones industrials slid 41.72 points to 16,370.99, and the S&P 500 index gave back 6.63 points to 1,858.46.

The Canadian dollar slipped 0.12 of a cent to 90.95 cents (U.S.).

Questions about the state of the domestic economy remain front and centre before the Bank of Canada releases its first-quarter business outlook survey, which is expected to show that winter storms hurt growth during the first three months of the year.

In corporate developments, the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. says it will have a new president and CEO starting in July. Bill Doyle will leave his position after leading efforts to thwart an attempted takeover of Canada’s largest fertilizer producer by global mining giant BHP Billiton. He will be replaced by Jochen Tilk, a 30-year mining veteran who worked as chief executive of Toronto-based Inmet Mining.

Potash shares dropped 20 cents to $37.62 (Canadian).

Magna International Inc. says it will spend $1.5-million on an expansion of its plant in Newmarket, Ont. and create 75 new jobs. Shares of the company fell 17 cents to $107.04.

Two European cement and construction materials producers are proposing a combination to create LafargeHolcim, which would have a combined $44-billion (U.S.) in annual revenues if the proposed “merger of equals” is completed.

Lafarge is Canada’s largest producer of cement and concrete building materials while Holcim, based in Switzerland, has a smaller presence in this country but extensive holdings in emerging economies.

Meanwhile, Paris-based Vivendi said Saturday it will sell SFR, the No. 2 mobile phone operator in France, to media company Altice in a deal that could eventually be worth more than $23 billion. Altice owns the French cable operator Numericable. Vivendi says it wants to focus on its other businesses, Universal Music Group and Canal+ pay television.

Also overseas, Japan and Australia say they have agreed a free trade deal after overcoming differences on autos and agriculture. The deal calls for Japan to gradually phase out its nearly 40 per cent tariffs on Australian exports of beef. In turn, Australia is to end its tariffs on Japanese-made vehicles.

European bourses were down before North American markets opened. London’s FTSE 100 index lost 0.7 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX was down 1.5 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 declined 0.7 per cent.

Asian markets were mixed Monday. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 dropped 1.69 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.59 per cent but China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.74 per cent.


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