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A trader gives a thumbs up while he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange February 3, 2014. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
A trader gives a thumbs up while he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange February 3, 2014. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

At the open: TSX flat after stocks mauled by emerging market worries Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was little changed Tuesday, a day after worries about global manufacturing performance helped send North American exchanges into a sharp selloff.

The S&P/TSX composite index edged up 0.61 of a point to 13,486.81. The Canadian dollar was up 0.12 of a cent to 90.23 cents (U.S.).

U.S. indexes were positive with the Dow Jones industrials ahead 10.11 points to 15,382.91 following a 326-point plunge, the Nasdaq gained 16.26 points to 4,013.22 while the S&P 500 index climbed 5.76 points to 1,747.65.

Stocks plunged Monday with the TSX losing 209 points after data showed the U.S. manufacturing sector continued to expand in January – but at a slower pace than expected.

Other data showed a similar performance for China’s manufacturing sector last month, which added to anxieties about emerging markets.

These negative developments come at a time when the U.S. Federal Reserve is cutting back on a key stimulus measure – bond purchases that kept long-term rates low and supported a strong rally on stock markets.

The withdrawal of stimulus is also proving to be difficult for emerging markets that had benefitted from a steady inflow of cheap money courtesy of Fed easing. Now, they’re being hit with steady outflows of that money, which in turn has pressured currencies and raised worries that economic problems in emerging countries could spread to developed markets.

Some analysts suggest markets that benefitted strongly from the Fed’s loose monetary policy have been ripe for a correction. The S&P 500 rocketed more than 30 per cent last year but is already down 5.75 per cent from the start of 2014.

The gold sector was the major drag, down 0.7 per cent while April gold declined $11.60 to $1,248.30 (U.S.) an ounce.

The energy sector was up 0.1 per cent as March crude in New York gained 82 cents to $97.25 (U.S.) a barrel.

Suncor Energy’s quarterly operating earnings were $973-million or 66 cents a share, 12 cents short of expectations. It also hiked its dividend 15 per cent to 23 cents a share and its shares fell 84 cents to $34.79. The metals and mining sector climbed 0.24 per cent and March copper rose one cent to $3.20 (U.S.) a pound.

Techs were also supportive, up 0.43 per cent.

In other earnings news, WestJet gained 59 cents to $25.44 as the carrier posted $67.8-million of quarterly net income, or 52 cents per diluted share, which met expectations. WestJet also raised its quarterly dividend by 20 per cent to 12 cents a share.

Atlantic regional telco Bell Aliant Inc. gained 33 cents to $25.42 as it reported $69-million of quarterly net income, up $3.3-million from a year ago. Adjusted earnings of 38 cents a share beat estimates of 35 cents.

CIBC was off 20 cents to $85.61 after the Ontario Court of Appeal said that it will allow three major securities class actions seeking almost $4-billion in damages against the bank to go to trial. The actions seek damages arising from alleged non-disclosure of CIBC’s exposure to the U.S. subprime market.

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