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At the open: TSX up slightly despite falling gold, mining stocks

In this June 20, 2014 file photo, trader James Doherty works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. In a world suddenly more dangerous, you’d think fund managers and traders would be selling and buying and selling again in a frenzy of second guessing. Instead, they’re the picture of calm and contentment. The lack of fear is spooking some people.

Richard Drew/AP

The Toronto stock market was flat Monday, pressured by declining gold, and metals and mining stocks. The S&P/TSX composite index was up slightly, up 5.53 points to 15,099.78.

The loonie dropped 0.14 of a cent at 93.66 cents (U.S.), as Statistics Canada reported the economy grew by 0.1 per cent in April, the same pace as in March. The figures failed to meet economists' expectations of a gain of 0.2 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

Meanwhile, traders are awaiting two key reports in the U.S. this week – the Institute for Supply Management's June reading on the manufacturing sector Tuesday and the U.S. government's employment report for last month, which is being released on Thursday. Markets are hoping to see clear signs of the underlying strength of the U.S. economy.

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New York indexes were mainly lower as the Dow Jones industrials shed 37.02 points to 16,814.82, the Nasdaq was up 2.79 points to 4,400.72, while the S&P 500 index slipped 1.19 points to 1,959.77. It's a shortened trading week for both the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York markets. The TSX will close Tuesday for Canada Day and the U.S. indexes will close July 4 for Independence Day.

Overseas, European and Asian markets were mostly higher amid data that shows inflation across the 18-country euro zone languished at a low of 0.5 per cent in June, adding urgency to the European Central Bank's recently announced measures to help the economy.

Analysts were on average expecting inflation in the euro zone to edge up to 0.6 per cent, according to financial data provider FactSet. A closer look at the figures released by the European Union's statistics agency shows the core inflation rate, which excludes volatile food and fuel costs, rose slightly to 0.8 per cent from 0.7 per cent in May. The European Central Bank wants the headline inflation rate to be just under 2 per cent.

Some economists warn the persistently low inflation rate can hurt growth. In a worst case, an extended drop in prices could cause a deflationary spiral, which can choke off growth and take years – if not decades – to break out of.

In corporate news, a group of GM Canada dealers is suing the company and its parent General Motors Co., saying the automaker has ignored their repeated calls for financial help to address a drop in sales and market share.

On the commodity markets, the August crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was down 54 cents to $105.20 (U.S.) a barrel. August bullion was down $4.50 to $1,314.2 an ounce, while September copper was $3.16, up a penny.

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