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At the open: TSX up slightly amid mixed economic data

SNC-Lavalin’s offices in Montreal.

Mario Beauregard/The Canadian Press

The Toronto stock market was slightly higher Monday amid mixed economic news from China and Europe and major deal making in the industrial and mining sectors.

The S&P/TSX composite index gave back 6.97 points to 15,115.94.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.13 of a cent to 93.14 cents (U.S.).

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U.S. indexes were generally tepid ahead of the release of U.S. home sales figures and a reading on the health of the manufacturing sector in the American Midwest.

The Dow Jones industrials declined 33.89 points to 16,913.19, the Nasdaq was up 1.08 points to 4,369.12, while the S&P 500 index slipped 1.78 points to 1,961.09.

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is acquiring U.K.-based Kentz Corp. Ltd., a global engineering firm that provides services to the oil and gas sector and operates in 36 countries in a deal worth $2.1-billion. SNC shares rose $1.61 to $54.01.

HudBay Minerals Inc. is buying Augusta Resource Corporation in a friendly takeover deal worth $555-million. HudBay had revised its offer on Friday and Augusta shareholders will receive now receive 0.315 of a HudBay common share along with 0.17 of a warrant to acquire a common share of HudBay for each Augusta common share. HudBay was down 29 cents to $10 while Augusta ran ahead 22 cents to $3.42.

And in the U.S., software maker Oracle is buying Micros Systems Inc., which provides software and hardware to the hospitality and retail industries, for about $5.3-billion (U.S.).

On the economic front, data showed the Chinese manufacturing sector moving into expansion territory. HSBC's purchasing managers index hit a seven-month high at 50.8, the first time the index has moved above the 50 level since December.

"The data reinforce our view of a sequential growth bottoming in Q1," said a commentary from Barclays Research, which noted that it recently revised up its growth forecast for China in 2014 to 7.4 per cent.

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However, other data showed that business activity in the euro zone slowed for a second straight month in June. Data firm Markit said its composite purchasing managers index for the euro zone fell to 52.8 from 53.5 in May. Activity in Germany's private sector slowed slightly, but the main source of weakness for the euro zone was once again France.

The base metals sector was flat, while the Chinese data helped push July copper up three cents to $3.15 (U.S.) a pound.

The tech sector led advancers on the TSX with BlackBerry continuing to benefit from last week's well-received quarterly earnings report, up 34 cents to $10.85 (Canadian).

Bullion prices backed off slightly after running ahead last week amid tensions between Ukraine and Russia and a growing insurgency in Iraq. August gold was down $1.80 to $1,314.80 (U.S.) an ounce. The gold sector was off 0.26 per cent.

The energy sector was up 0.11 per cent while oil prices declined after rising steadily over the last two weeks as a Sunni uprising gained momentum in Iraq. The August contract was off 19 cents to $106.64 a barrel.

The TSX ran ahead 0.7 per cent last week in a series of new highs for the Toronto market, finally surpassing its old record close of 15,073 hit in the middle of 2008 just before the global financial crisis. The showing left the Toronto market up more than 10 per cent year to date.

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