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At the open: TSX down as commodities decline

An employees prepares metal rods at the Boart Longyear plant in Mississauga that will be used in future drilling operations. The Utah-based company produces steel drill rods used in mining operations across the world.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

The Toronto stock market was lower Monday as buying sentiment continued to take a hit from Friday's disappointing U.S. jobs data and word from the International Monetary Fund that it was downgrading its economic forecast.

The S&P/TSX composite index lost 31.22 points to 11,628.73 while the TSX Venture Exchange added 1.82 points to 1,213.17.

The Canadian dollar moved down 0.26 of a cent to 97.91 cents U.S.

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The Dow Jones industrials fell 48.21 points to 12,724.26.

The Nasdaq composite index was down 3.72 points to 2,933.61 and the S&P 500 index lost 4.2 points to 1,350.48.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde didn't mention exactly how much the IMF would trim from its earlier forecast.

But the jobs data and Ms. Lagarde's warning were enough to further persuade traders that economic growth is faltering around the globe.

There was one bit of positive news Monday morning.

Inflation figures for China showed the consumer price index at its lowest since January 2010. That will give Beijing leeway to continue adding stimulus to fight an economic slowdown. China is scheduled to release its latest trade numbers Tuesday and retail sales, industrial production and gross domestic product on Friday. In a surprise move, China last week cut interest rates for a second time in a month.

Commodity prices were mixed after diminished demand prospects pushed prices for oil and metals down sharply on Friday.

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The base metals sector led decliners, down 1.1 per cent as the September copper contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange edged up a penny to $3.41 (U.S.) a pound following an eight-cent fall. Teck Resources declined 61 cents to $31.31.

The energy sector was off 0.35 per cent as the August crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange lost early traction to slip four cents to $84.41 (U.S.) a barrel after sliding $2.77 at the end of last week. Suncor Energy gave back 22 cents to $29.14.

The gold sector shed 0.6 per cent as bullion started to recover from Friday's $30 (U.S.) decline, up $4.80 to $1,583.70 an ounce. Iamgold faded 14 cents to $11.38 (Canadian).

The industrials sector moved up 0.2 per cent after transportation giant Bombardier Inc. said Sunday that it received a conditional order valued at about $1-billion for 15 of the new C-Series aircraft the company aims to begin delivering by the end of next year. At the same time, Guy Hachey, the president of Bombardier Aerospace, said on Sunday that difficulties with flight control systems could affect the timeline for the maiden flight later this year. Its shares ran ahead eight cents to $4.12.

In other corporate developments, Canadian biotechnology company QLT Inc. is cutting its workforce by two-thirds, leaving it with 68 employees. The Vancouver-based company had been one of Canada's most successful biotechnology firms based on its treatment for age-related blindness. But sales of Visudyne have fallen and QLT has struggled in recent years to find another commercially successful product. QLT shares added three cents to $7.73.

On the acquisition front, Thomson Reuters Inc. shares climbed 11 cents to $29.14 after the information provider made a friendly $625-million (U.S.) offer to buy FX Alliance, a company that provides foreign exchange trading technology.

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European bourses were lower with London's FTSE 100 index down 0.37 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX dipped 0.02 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 dipped 0.28 per cent.

Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 1.4 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 1.9 per cent, South Korea's Kospi slipped 1.2 per cent and China's Shanghai Composite tumbled 2.4 per cent.

Traders also looked ahead to the start of the second-quarter corporate earnings season in the U.S., which will be kicked off by aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. after the close.

They are braced for a lacklustre run of earnings reports with big American multinationals feeling pressure from a currency that ramped up as the European debt crisis worsened in the second quarter.

On top of a higher currency, corporations are also dealing with a slowing global economy.

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