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Miners push Toronto stock market lower ahead of busy corporate earnings week

TORONTO - Falling mining stocks pushed the Toronto stock market slightly lower Monday as traders looked to a heavy slate of earnings news coming out this week.

The S&P/TSX composite index declined 6.71 points to 14,493.68. The Canadian dollar was down 0.01 of a cent to 90.79 cents US.

New York's Dow industrials closed up 40.71 points to 16,449.25, the Nasdaq composite index was 26.03 points higher at 4,121.55 and the S&P 500 index climbed 7.04 points to 1,871.89.

After the close, Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) posted adjusted earnings for the first quarter of 66 cents a share, four cents lower than analyst estimates.

Rogers acquired additional wireless spectrum during the January auction for $3.3 billion, which will be needed to allow consumers to stream NHL games on their mobile devices. Rogers scored a $5.2-billion multi-year deal last fall for the Canadian rights to all NHL games and its shares inched up a penny to $44.28.

"There’s a bit of a transition going on in that industry," said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets specialist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

"We’re seeing the telecom providers understand that the real future of profitability and pricing power relates to the delivery of content, particularly as it relates to the mobile platform."

Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) reports Tuesday and its results will be impacted by falling commodity prices. Copper prices have tumbled 11 per cent this year and coal prices have fared even worse, falling from US$300 a tonne in 2011 to about $120 a tonne. Teck shares slipped 30 cents to $24.01.

Meanwhile, Canadian Pacific (TSX:CP) also reports Tuesday and investors will look to see how severe winter weather affected the railway in the quarter and how increased petroleum shipments have lifted the bottom line. CP shares climbed 78 cents to $163.99.

The tech sector in particular will be in focus as traders take in earnings during the week from tech heavyweights including Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. The results are being released following a sharp correction in the tech sector that has seen the Nasdaq index drop about five per cent this month.

"We saw a big sell-off in the markets and it was driven by this concern that stocks in general have become overvalued — but there were certainly pockets of the market that were frothy and technology was really at the centre of that," added Fehr.

"So we saw some of that froth come out of the market but the good news is that it didn't seep into the broader market."

After the close, Netflix reported quarterly earnings per share of 86 cents, three cents ahead of estimates.

Elsewhere on the corporate front, TransCanada shares fell $1.92 to $49.38 after the U.S. government said Friday that it needs more time to prepare its recommendation to President Barack Obama on the company's Keystone XL pipeline.

Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) shares were down 78 cents to $19.03 as the Wall Street Journal said that merger talks between the Toronto-based mining company and Newmont Mining had broken off last week. However, sources told Bloomberg and others that the issues separating the two parties are minor, leaving open the possibility that the deal could still happen.

The gold sector was the biggest weight, down about 0.4 per cent as June bullion fell $5.40 to US$1,288.50 an ounce.

The metals and mining sector was down 0.34 per cent with May copper unchanged at US$3.04 a pound.

The TSX energy sector was off 0.05 per cent as May crude in New York added seven cents to US$104.37 barrel.

The Canadian Press

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