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The close: TSX slides as slowdown in housing hits financials

Canadian bank headquarters stand on Bay Street in Toronto.

Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Canada's main stock index edged lower on Monday as data showing a slowdown in the housing market weighed on the outlook for financials, offsetting gains for the materials group as metal prices climbed.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index unofficially closed down 9.45 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 15,165.36. Six of the index's 10 main groups ended down. Financial stocks were off 0.4 per cent, with Bank of Montreal down 0.3 per cent.

The Canadian dollar was at 78.87 cents (U.S.), down 0.2 of a cent.

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Dominion Diamond Corp. rose 5.4 per cent to $17.83 after the world's third-largest diamond producer by market value agreed to a sweetened takeover offer of $14.25 per share in cash, up from $13.50, from The Washington Companies, valuing it at $1.2-billion (U.S.).

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International rose 0.7 per cent to $17.36 after saying it would sell its Obagi Medical Products business for $190-million in cash.

The resale of Canadian homes fell 6.7 per cent in June from May, the largest monthly drop since 2010 and the third-straight monthly decline as sales in Toronto plunged, the Canadian Real Estate Association said.

U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday as gains in utilities and consumer stocks offset declines in healthcare, with earnings news separating winners and losers across the board.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8.02 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 21,629.72, the S&P 500 lost 0.14 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 2,459.13 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.97 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 6,314.43.

The Nasdaq posted an eight-day winning streak as the earnings season got underway.

Analysts' are estimating an 8.2 per cent rise in second-quarter earnings for the S&P 500 companies from a year earlier.

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This follows a robust first quarter when U.S. companies posted their best earnings since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Microsoft, IBM and Johnson and Johnson are scheduled to report results this week.

After the close, Netflix Inc. reported second-quarter profit of $65.6-million, or 15 cents per share, which missed Wall Street expectations of 16 cents. The internet video service posted revenue of $2.79 billion in the period, which topped Street forecasts of $2.76-billion.

Netflix Inc. added more U.S. and international subscribers than expected in the second quarter as new original shows such as 13 Reasons Why as well as the latest season of hit political drama House of Cards helped attract more viewers. The company said on Monday it added 4.14 million subscribers internationally in the quarter ended June 30, compared with the average analyst estimate of 2.59 million, according to data from analytics firm FactSet.

Earnings will be closely watched to see if high valuations are justified in the face of tepid inflation and a recent patch of mixed economic data.

The S&P 500 has been trading at about 18 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months, compared with the long-term average of 15 times.

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"After new highs that we saw last week, the market deserves a rest as investors await big earnings this week," said Dave Donabedian, chief investment officer of CIBC Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management.

"Our view is that right now the equity market is a one-legged stool that's driven by earnings and we're pretty optimistic about earnings but if that should falter, the market will falter."

The financial sector was little changed after results and forecasts on Friday by big banks such as JPMorgan , Citigroup and Wells Fargo failed to excite investors.

Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs will report results later this week.

The Dow and the S&P hit record highs on Friday after weak economic data dulled prospects of more interest rate hikes this year.

Shares of BlackRock fell 3 per cent after the world's biggest asset manager's quarterly profit came in below expectations.

Meal-kit company Blue Apron Holdings fell 10.6 per cent after an Amazon unit filed a trademark for a competing meal-kit service earlier this month. Amazon was up 1 per cent and provided the biggest boost to the Nasdaq.

Reuters, AP

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