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At midday: Miners, energy stocks push TSX lower

Dundee Industrial prepares to make splash with big IPO


The Toronto stock market was lower at midday Tuesday with losses spread across most sectors while traders took in some major dealmaking in the sports business.

The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 71.93 points to 13,400.29.

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.

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As part of the deal, CBC will continue to air Hockey Night in Canada and the TVA network in Quebec gets the Canadian French-language multi-media rights. Rogers shares fell 43 cents to $46.35.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.07 of a cent to 94.87 cents US.

U.S. indexes were higher while traders looked to U.S. housing and consumer confidence data.

The Dow Jones industrials were up 32.49 points to 16,105.03. The Nasdaq gained 14.08 points to 4,008.65 and the S&P 500 index was 2.75 points higher to 1,805.23.

U.S. housing permits jumped to 1.03 million in October, the fastest pace in five years.

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.

At the same time, concerns about hiring and pay increases in coming months pushed a key gauge of consumers confidence in the economy to the lowest level in seven months during November.

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The U.S. Conference Board says that its index of consumer confidence dropped to 70.4 from 72.4 in October.

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 three cents lower to US$94.06 a barrel. The energy sector shed 0.4 per cent and Imperial Oil (TSX:IMO) was down 45 cents to $45.27.

The gold sector fell 1.85 per cent while December bullion gained $4.60 to US$1,245.80 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.

"They've been beaten up and some of them have been depleting cash on their balance sheets as they go through capital expenditures while the commodity prices fall," said Kash Pashootan, vice president and portfolio manager at First Avenue Advisory in Ottawa, a Raymond James company.

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"You get to a point where the next natural step in the cycle is for consolidation. We haven't really seen that yet but it's going to be consolidation as a means of survival, unless you believe gold will considerably rise, which we don't.:"

Goldcorp (TSX:G) faded 43 cents to C$23.78.

December copper was down one cent at US$3.21 a pound and the base metals sector was also off 0.9 per cent. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) declined 49 cents to C$25.58.

Financials were also a weight, down 0.5 per cent with Sun Life Financial (TSX:SLF) down 44 cents to $37.11.

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-area 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.

Couche-Tard also announced its quarterly dividend will go up about 14 per cent to 10 cents per share on Dec. 19. its shares were $2.69 higher to $76.676, which is above the previous all-time high.

Chorus Aviation (TSX:CHR.B) shares surged 75 cents or 27.66 per cent to $3.48 after the regional airline operator won an arbitration ruling on the mark up of costs its Jazz subsidiary receives from Air Canada (TSX:AC.B). An arbitration panel agreed that there was no justification to change the current 12.5 per cent mark-up, relieving the company of paying retroactive payments to the country's largest airline. Air Canada shares lost five cents to $6.84.

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