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Toronto stock market in the red ahead of corporate earnings, economic data

TORONTO - A drop in energy stocks helped push the Toronto stock market slightly lower Monday as traders brace for a heavy slate of earnings reports this week, particularly from the resource sector.

The S&P/TSX composite index gave back 9.82 points to 15,445.22.

"This week will be jam-packed with information for investors to digest," said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets specialist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.12 of a cent at 92.59 cents US.

New York markets were mainly positive as the Dow Jones industrials moved ahead 22.02 points at 16,982.59, the Nasdaq lost 4.65 points to 4,444.91 and the S&P 500 index was up 0.57 of a point to 1,978.91.

Big names in the Canadian gold mining and energy sector, such as Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) and Suncor Energy (TSX:SU), report their second-quarter results this week. Those two sectors are the best performing on the TSX year to date with energy up about 19 per cent while the gold sector is up about 28 per cent — but that's after being cut in half last year. The energy sector is actually the leading advancer since its market weighting is far heavier than gold.

"This is an important week for the TSX because those two areas, gold and energy, have been the areas that have led the TSX to a 15 per cent total return so far this year — huge gains in those sectors," added Fehr.

Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) also reports its results Thursday. Its shares are close to its 52-week low of $3.44 and investors will be looking for an update on the development of the company's crucial CSeries airliner, which has been beset by a series of delays. Its shares slipped four cents to $3.61.

The energy sector led TSX decliners, down 0.84 per cent as September crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange lost 42 cents to US$101.67 a barrel.

Athabasca Oil Corp. (TSX:ATH) shares fell 47 cents or 6.83 per cent to $6.41 as the company seeks to reassure investors that it is working to close a $1.23-billion oilsands asset sale to PetroChina.

Techs were also weak with BlackBerry (TSX:BB) down 37 cents to $10.75 after CEO John Chen told Bloomberg Television that he has no acquisition offers on his desk. He said BlackBerry is focused on turning its ailing business around independently, and its chances of success are "better than 80/20."

The TSX closed well off the worst levels of the session as the gold sector finished positive, up about 0.8 per cent as August bullion closed unchanged at US$1,303.30 an ounce.

The TSX base metals sector led TSX advancers, up 1.11 per cent while September copper was unchanged at US$3.24 a pound.

There was also major acquisition activity in the U.S. where Dollar Tree is buying rival discount store Family Dollar in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about US$8.5 billion.

The data calendar for Canada is light this week with only one major report. Statistics Canada posts May gross domestic product figures on Thursday. Economists are looking for a 0.3 per cent gain for the month.

In the U.S., traders will look to second-quarter GDP data out Tuesday, the Federal Reserve makes its scheduled announcement on interest rates on Wednesday and on Friday, the U.S. government releases its employment report for July.

The Canadian Press

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