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At midday: TSX advances amid mixed manufacturing data


The Toronto stock market was positive Monday as traders balanced data showing Chinese manufacturing growing at the fastest clip in five months and other figures showing the U.S. manufacturing sector expanding at a slower-than-expected pace during May.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 50.64 points to 14,654.8.

The Canadian dollar was lower, down 0.46 of a cent to 91.77 cents US.

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U.S. indexes were generally lacklustre after the Institute for Supply Management's index registered 53.2, far below the 55.8 reading that economists had forecast.

The Dow Jones industrials gained 13.72 points to 16,730.89.

The Nasdaq declined 14.36 points to 4,228.26 and the S&P 500 index slipped 1.04 points to 1,922.53.

"The manufacturing ISM threw some cold water over the prospect for a significant rebound in growth in the second quarter," observed CIBC World Markets economist Andrew Grantham.

"While the non-manufacturing ISM covers a larger part of the economy, it is the manufacturing survey that has often had the best relationship with GDP."

Hopes have been particularly high for a second quarter rebound after data released last week showed that the U.S. economy contracted by a larger than expected one per cent in the January-March period, due in large part to severe winter weather.

However, there was positive data from the world's second-biggest economy as the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said that its monthly manufacturing index rose to 50.8 points in May, up from April's reading of 50.4 and was the highest level this year. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

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There is a heavy slate of economic data this week, capped on Friday by the government's non-farm payrolls report.

Economists forecast another month of strong job gains in the U.S. They expect the economy cranked out about 219,000 jobs following a much stronger expected 288,000 gain in April.

On the TSX, the base metals sector led advancers, up 1.32 per cent as the Chinese data pushed the July copper contract up four cents to US$3.17 a pound.

Telecoms also boosted the TSX, up 0.9 per cent.

The energy sector rose 0.4 per cent as July crude in New York declined 34 cents to US$102.37 a barrel.

The gold sector fell 0.77 per cent, with July bullion $1.60 lower to US$1,244.40. Bullion prices fell 3.5 per cent last week with markets feeling more comfortable about the Ukraine crisis and more concerned about deflation rather than inflation, particularly in Europe.

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On the corporate front, trucking and delivery company TransForce Inc. says it has a US$310-million deal to buy Minnesota-based Transport America, Inc., which offers transportation services across the United States. Transforce (TSX:TFI) says the acquisition is expected to generate annual revenues of about US$350 million for the Quebec company. Its shares were unchanged at $23.70.

Pershing Square Capital Management LP is seeking to replace a majority of directors at Allergan Inc. at a special meeting of shareholders. The move is part of a plan to back a proposed takeover of the Botox maker by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (TSX:VRX). The investment firm headed by Bill Ackman is the largest shareholder at Allergan with a 9.7 per cent stake. On Friday, Valeant raised its stock-and-cash offer to about US$180 per share, valuing Allergan at more than US$54 billion. Valeant shares edged up $1.65 to $143.99.

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