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At the open: TSX moves lower amid glum economic forecast

(16) The OECD recently examined its member countries’ participation in GVCs and published a report benchmarking Canada against OECD members; the report confirms that Canada is the ninth-largest exporter in absolute terms, i.e. it has the ninth-largest share of the world export market.

Jacques Brinon/AP

The Toronto stock market was lower Tuesday amid a forecast that sees slower global economic growth and a heavy slate of earnings.

The S&P/TSX composite index declined 58.54 points to 14,638.49.

The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.39 of a cent to 91.7 cents (U.S.).

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U.S. indexes were also tepid with the Dow Jones industrials down 72.37 points to 16,458.18, the Nasdaq fell 18.38 points to 4,119.68 and the S&P 500 index was down 7.57 points to 1,877.09.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said the global economy will grow by 3.4 per cent this year, down from its forecast of 3.6 per cent growth last November.

The OECD, a think-tank for the world's most developed countries, cut China's growth forecast this year to 7.4 per cent from 8.2 per cent in November. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is forecast to grow 2.6 per cent this year against last November's 2.9 per cent estimate.

The news is better for Canada: economic growth is projected to accelerate to 2.75 per cent by 2015.

The OECD warned that "financial tensions in emerging markets are one risk that could blow the global recovery off course," while falling inflation in the euro area was another cause for concern.

On the earnings front, BCE Inc. posted quarterly net earnings of $615-million, up 8.7 per cent from a year ago, led by growth in its wireless and media divisions. Adjusted net earnings were $626-million or 81 cents, up 4.5 per cent from a year ago and five cents better than forecast, but its shares lost 31 cents to $48.65 as revenue missed expectations.

WestJet recorded quarterly net earnings of $89.3-million, or 69 cents per diluted share, compared to $91.1-million, or 68 cents a year ago. WestJet says total revenue totalled $1.042-billion, a gain of 7.7 per cent over the same period of 2013. Ex-items, earnings came in at 69 cents a share, six cents ahead of estimates. Westjet shares dropped 22 cents to $24.75.

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George Weston Ltd. reports a first-quarter net profit of $109-million or 78 cents a share, down 32.7 per cent from a year ago. Sales were up 1.6 per cent at $7.61-billion. The company is increasing its quarterly dividend to 42 cents, up from 41.5 cents. Adjusted earnings per share of 83 cents beat estimates of 76 cents, but George Weston also warned its second-quarter results will face pressure from higher costs and its shares drifted 15 cents lower to $81.86.

After the close, Sun Life Financial will post its quarterly earnings report.

Overseas, Germany's Bayer AG plans to buy U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Inc.'s consumer care business, whose products include the Coppertone sun care, Claritin allergy medicine and Dr. Scholl's footcare, for $14.2-billion.

And French President Francois Hollande says that an offer by General Electric Co. for French engineering company Alstom is not big enough and wants the U.S. company to come up with a better deal. Alstom says it's ready to accept GE's $17-billion bid, but bowed to government pressure to push for better conditions. GE shares were off 17 cents to $24.61 (U.S.).

The tech sector led TSX decliners, with BlackBerry down 18 cents to $8.50 (Canadian).

The energy sector was off 0.13 per cent while June crude in New York gained 44 cents to $99.92 (U.S.) a barrel.

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The base metals sector dropped 0.73 per cent with July copper unchanged at $3.06 a pound.

June bullion lost $1.60 to $1,307.70 and the gold sector shed 0.7 per cent.

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