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At the open: Markets flat, economy indicators poor

In a June 22, 2012 file photo Trader Stephen Guilfoyle, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Richard Drew/AP

The Toronto stock market was little changed as indications of economic deterioration in Europe and Asia took some of the shine off expectations for another round of stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The S&P/TSX composite index slipped 2.79 points to 12,116.2.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.01 of a cent to 100.88 cents (U.S.) after minutes from the Fed's Aug. 1 meeting showed many members felt further support will be needed "fairly soon" unless the economy improves significantly.

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Rising jobless insurance claims last week also helped push New York indexes in the red as the Dow Jones industrials declined 43.67 points to 13,129.09. A weak earnings report from tech giant Hewlett-Packard helped push the Nasdaq down 10.99 points to 3,062.68 and the S&P 500 index was off 3.46 points at 1,410.03.

World business surveys on Thursday painted a picture of economic malaise stretching from Beijing to Berlin, adding to concerns that the world economy was slowing down.

The 17-country euro zone appeared headed for its second recession in three years. Financial data firm Markit said it's Purchasing Managers' Index suggested the euro zone economy would shrink about 0.5 percent in the current July-to-September quarter.

In China, a preliminary reading of manufacturing activity indicated that government stimulus efforts have not been able to neutralize global headwinds. HSBC's manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to a nine-month low of 47.8 in July, as weak global demand hit Chinese export orders. New export orders fell at their fastest rate in three years.

With files from Reuters

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