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At the open: Mining, energy stocks pull TSX lower

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, file photo, trader Leon Montana works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks opened slightly higher on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, as investors weighed the latest batch of corporate deal news and mixed economic reports on home prices and demand for big-ticket items. The Standard & Poor's 500 index held at 2,000, extending the prior day's gains. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Mining and energy stocks pushed the Toronto stock market lower Tuesday amid negative Chinese manufacturing data and falling gold prices.

The S&P/TSX composite index lost 27.91 points to 15,597.82, at the start of a week featuring a heavy slate of economic data.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.35 of a cent to 91.62 cents (U.S.).

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U.S. markets were mixed with the Dow Jones industrials down 15.72 points to 17,082.73, the Nasdaq up 14.57 points to 4,594.84 and the S&P 500 index ahead 0.89 of a point to 2,004.26.

Data showed China's official purchasing managers index dropped to 51.1 during August, while the private sector measure fell from July's 50.2 reading, both worse-than-expected results.

The move lower on the markets came despite a positive reading on the health of the American manufacturing sector. The Institute for Supply Management's index for August showed growing expansion, coming in at 59, up from 57.1 in July, the strongest level since April 2011.

In Canada, the RBC Canadian manufacturing purchasing managers' index for August showed the group gained momentum in August with overall business conditions improving at the fastest past since last November. The index registered 54.8 in August, up from 54.3 in July.

The major economic event of the week happens Friday when the U.S. government releases its employment report for August. Economists are looking for another strong month of job creation in the neighbourhood of 220,000.

Canadian jobs data also comes out on Friday and it is expected Statistics Canada will report that about 10,000 jobs were created last month.

Also, the Bank of Canada makes its scheduled announcement on interest rates on Wednesday. The bank is widely expected to leave its key rate unchanged at one per cent.

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Central bank governor Stephen Poloz has maintained a dovish accent on rates and markets, which are generally expecting a rate hike mid-2015, will look to the bank's statement for any change in that tone.

The gold sector dropped almost two per cent as December bullion fell $19.80 to $1,267.60 (U.S.) an ounce. Gold had found some support amid tensions between Russia and Western countries over its involvement in fighting between rival factions in Ukraine. But the metal is being pressured at the same time by a rising U.S. dollar, the end of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve expected this fall and the prospect of higher interest rates.

Base metal stocks were also weak, down 1.2 per cent with December copper down a cent to $3.15 a pound.

The energy sector fell 1.15 per cent while October crude declined $1.18 to $94.78 a barrel.

On the corporate front, Pembina Pipeline Corp. will acquire a pipeline system and an interest in a Saskatchewan ethane extraction plant for $650-million. The Vantage pipeline system originates in North Dakota and provides access to the North Dakota Bakken shale formation. Pembina shares rose 59 cents to $50.56.

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