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A skyscraper under construction in Shanghai. (Eugene Hoshiko)
A skyscraper under construction in Shanghai. (Eugene Hoshiko)

At the open: TSX declines on weak Chinese economic data Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was slightly lower Tuesday amid data showing an effect of the slowdown in China’s property market.

The S&P/TSX composite index was 8.26 points lower to 15,207, as traders got back to work following a long weekend in many parts of the country.

Mining stocks were negative and copper prices fell as data showed that service industries in the world’s second-biggest economy grew at the slowest rate last month since November 2005. The HSBC index of China service businesses activity based on a survey of 400 companies fell to 50.0 in July from 53.1 in the previous month.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.13 of a cent to 91.39 cents (U.S.).

U.S. indexes were back in the red ahead of the latest readings on the U.S. non-manufacturing sector and factory orders.

The Dow Jones industrials gave back a good chunk of Monday’s 76-point climb, down 43.99 points to 16,525.29, the Nasdaq fell 15.92 points to 4,367.97 and the S&P 500 index was down 5.94 points to 1,933.05.

Later in the morning, the U.S. Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing index is projected to show greater expansion, climbing to 56.5 in July, from 56 in June.

At the same time, factory orders from June will be released. They are expected to climb 0.6 per cent after dropping 0.5 per cent in May.

The TSX and N.Y. markets fell sharply last week, with the Toronto market losing 1.55 per cent and the Dow industrials sliding 2.75 per cent. Among other things, traders fretted over the prospect of the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates sooner than thought after second quarter economic growth came in much better than expected.

Geopolitical worries centred around Russia’s support for Ukrainian rebels and the aftershocks of Argentina slipping again into default also eroded buying sentiment.

But analysts also point to the fact that the rally on stock markets has been going practically without interruption for over five years and that a correction could be in the cards.

The base metals sector lost 0.25 per cent as September copper slipped three cents to $3.21 a pound.

The gold sector shed 0.62 per cent while December bullion faded $1.60 to $1,287.30 an ounce.

September crude 28 cents to $98.01 a barrel and the energy sector rose 0.27 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Canadian earnings season remains in high gear with reports out this week from a variety of major corporations, including Tim Horton’s, telecom BCE Inc., retailer Canadian Tire and three major insurers – Great West Lifeco, Manulife Financial and Sun Life Financial.

On Monday, The Second Cup Ltd. suspended its quarterly dividend as the coffee shop chain says it looks to focus on growth to maximize shareholder value. The company posted a second-quarter adjusted profit of eight cents per share versus 14 cents a year ago and its shares plunged 14.6 per cent to $3.57.

Target shares were down 4.2 per cent to $58.14 (U.S.) in New York as the retailer lowered its forecast for its second quarter because of costs related to a massive data breach and the repayment of debt. It now expects to earn around 78 cents per share for the quarter, excluding one-time items, down from the 85 cents to $1 per share it previously forecast. The company has been reeling since it announced in December that hackers stole millions of customers’ credit– and debit-card records.

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