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China’s decreasing growth rate translates into falling inflation rates, something that concerns the European Central Bank.

CHINA DAILY/REUTERS

The Toronto stock market slipped into negative territory Monday amid hopes that data showing continued contraction of China's manufacturing sector will force authorities to take steps to meet its growth target.

The S&P/TSX composite index lost 30.24 points to 14,305.52, with the market held back by gold stocks which gave up further ground as bullion prices continued to decline.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.12 of a cent to 89.20 cents (U.S.).

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U.S. indexes also gave back early gains Monday morning. The Dow Jones industrials fell 12.03 points to 16,290.47, the Nasdaq fell 45.14 points to 4,231.65 while the S&P 500 index slipped 7.88 points to 1,858.64.

The worse-than-expected Chinese data suggested that the slowdown in the world's second biggest economy is deepening.

"The government needs to take quick action in view of its growth target of about 7.5 per cent," said a commentary from Barclays Research.

Analysts say Beijing will likely introduce a series of pro-growth measures focusing on accelerating fiscal spending on infrastructure and reforms.

The industrials sector led TSX advancers, up 0.75 per cent.

Prices on commodity markets were generally higher and the energy sector gained 0.45 per cent as May crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange moved up 69 cents to $100.15 (U.S.) a barrel.

The metals and mining sector climbed 0.5 per cent while May copper gained one cent to $2.96 a pound.

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The tech sector rose 0.3 per cent with BlackBerry up 23 cents to $10.42 (Canadian) ahead of earnings from the smartphone maker coming out on Friday. On average, investors expect the smartphone maker to post revenue of $1.1-billion and a net loss of about 57 cents a share. That is down sharply from a year ago when BlackBerry posted revenue of $2.2-billion and earnings per share of 18 cents.

The gold sector was the leading decliner, down 1.4 per cent as April bullion shed $18.40 to $1,317.60 (U.S.) an ounce.

In corporate developments, Telus has reached an agreement to purchase Enode Inc., an IT company based in Quebec, for an undisclosed amount. The company provides information security and risk management for business and government agencies.

Elsewhere on the earnings front, investors will be looking to yogawear retailer Lululemon Athletica which reports its fourth-quarter results on Thursday. Expectations are somewhat muted after the company said in January that results for this quarter would be lower than expected.

European bourses were mixed as London's FTSE 100 index added 0.02 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX was down 0.24 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 declined 0.4 per cent.

Earlier in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 1.8 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.8 per cent and China's Shanghai Composite Index widened gains after the release of the manufacturing survey, rising 1.1 per cent.

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