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Trader Steven Kaplan works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, March 12, 2014. (Richard Drew/AP)
Trader Steven Kaplan works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, March 12, 2014. (Richard Drew/AP)

At the open: Stocks pull back Add to ...

The Toronto stock market opened lower as the U.S. GDP grew in the fourth quarter, and the number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped to a four-month low.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 16.17 points to 14,167.93 after sustaining a three-digit loss at the close yesterday. The Canadian dollar was ahead by 0.01 of a cent to 90.23.

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The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 per cent annual rate in the October to December quarter, slightly better than previously estimated, as consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in three years. Analysts had been expecting a growth rate of 2.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department reported that jobless claims fell 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 311,000, the lowest since late November and a hopeful sign that hiring could pick up.

The Dow Jones industrials fell 6.23 points to 16,262.76, the Nasdaq shed 10.11 points to 4,163.47 and the S&P 500 index dipped 3.77 points to 1,848.79. The latest economic data pointed to improving conditions, but investors were reluctant to make big bets amid tensions in Ukraine and a drop in Citigroup shares.

In commodities, June gold bullion contract took back $5.20 to US$1,298.20 an ounce and the May copper contract gained two cents to $2.98 a pound. Oil gained $1 to $101.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

- With files from Reuters

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