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Trucks sit parked at Barrick Gold’s Pascua-Lama project in this file photo. (Jorge Saenz/AP Photo)
Trucks sit parked at Barrick Gold’s Pascua-Lama project in this file photo. (Jorge Saenz/AP Photo)

At the open: TSX falls as gold stocks stay under pressure Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was lower amid falling mining stocks and major dealmaking in the sports business.

The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 40.55 points to 13,431.67.

The National Hockey League has reached a 12-year, $5.2-billion agreement with Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) for the league’s broadcast and multimedia rights. The league says the deal gives Rogers national rights to all NHL games, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, on all of its platforms in all languages.

As part of the deal, CBC will continue to air Hockey Night in Canada and the TVA network in Quebec has all of the Canadian French-language multi-media rights. Rogers shares fell 19 cents to $46.59.

The Canadian dollar lost early momentum and declined 0.02 of a cent to 94.78 cents US.

U.S. indexes were mainly higher while traders looked to U.S. housing and consumer confidence data coming out later in the morning.

The Dow Jones industrials were up 22.93 points to 16,095.47 after hitting yet another record high on Monday. The Nasdaq shed 1.04 points to 3,993.54 after the index crossed the 4,000-mark Monday for the first time since September, 2000 and the S&P 500 index was a point higher to 1,803.48.

U.S. housing permits jumped to 1.03 million in October, the fastest pace in five years. Most of the growth was centred on apartments while permits for houses remained mostly flat.

Other data showed that U.S. home prices rose more slowly in September than in August in a sign that weaker sales are preventing the kinds of sharp price gains that occurred earlier this year. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 0.7 per cent from August to September.

That’s down from a 1.3 per cent gain from July to August. Year over year, prices jumped 13.3 per cent from September 2012, the fastest such gain since February 2006.

U.S. housing starts data for September and October were also to be released Tuesday but the partial U.S. government shutdown during that month has delayed that until Dec. 18.

The U.S. Conference Board issues its latest consumer confidence index mid-morning. Economists expect a pickup in confidence with the index rising to 72.4 in November from 71.2 in October as consumers benefit from new highs in U.S. equity markets and lower gasoline prices.

Investors also continued to digest Iran’s deal with western governments on nuclear development reached over the weekend.

Markets had a tepid response to the deal Monday. Oil prices had initially fallen sharply even though the agreement does not loosen sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, but ended the session down 75 cents.

On Tuesday morning, the January contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange edged up seven cents to US$94.12 a barrel. The energy sector shed 0.22 per cent

The gold sector led decliners, as it has many times recently, down 1.75 per cent while December bullion gained $1.60 to US$1,242.80 an ounce. The sector has registered steep declines during 2013, down almost 50 per cent year to date as gold prices have also fallen amid speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve is set to taper its monthly US$85 billion of bond purchases, which have kept rates low and supported a stock market rally. Also, inflation is very low in many parts of the world. Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) faded 24 cents to C$17.05.

December copper was down a cent at US$3.22 a pound and the base metals sector was off one per cent. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) declined 38 cents to C$25.69.

In other corporate developments, international convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (TSX:ATD.B) had US$229.8 million of net income in its fiscal second quarter, up 26.8 per cent from a year ago. Ex-items,the Montreal-based company (TSX:ATD.B) had US$249 million of net income or US$1.32 per share, up from 91 cents per share a year earlier and 10 cents ahead of analyst estimates.

Without adjusting to exclude the impact of foreign exchange and acquisition related costs in both years, Couche-Tard had $1.21 per share of net income, a penny below estimates and its shares were nine cents higher to $74.07.

European bourses were mixed as London’s FTSE 100 index declined 0.4 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.09 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 slipped 0.09 per cent.

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