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TSX set to open little changed amid data showing slowdown in Chinese economy

The Toronto Stock Exchange Broadcast Centre is shown in Toronto on June 28, 2013.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
January 20, 2014 - 5:36 AM

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market looked to open little changed Monday as commodity prices stepped back in the wake of data showing slight slowing in China's economy.

It was expected to be a relatively quiet session with U.S. markets closed for the Martin Luther King holiday.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.2 of a cent to 91.31 cents U.S. two days before the Bank of Canada makes its next announcement on interest rates.

The Chinese economy grew by 7.7 per cent over a year earlier, down from previous quarter’s 7.8 per cent. Growth for the full year was 7.7 per cent, tying 2012 for the weakest annual performance since 1999.

Factory output, exports and investment all weakened. On a quarter-to-quarter basis, economic growth dropped to 1.8 per cent from the previous period’s 2.2 per cent.

But the news didn't come as a huge surprise to markets, which have gotten used to the fact that double-digit Chinese growth is something that won't be happening again any time soon.

"It was widely expected," said BMO Capital Markets senior economist Jennifer Lee.

"The results weren't too bad and continue to illustrate an economy that is inching towards more consumption-led, not investment/export-led, growth."

Commodity prices were weak in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The February crude oil contract declined 71 cents to US$93.66 a barrel.

The March copper contract dipped a penny to US$3.34 while February bullion rose $2.40 to US$1,254.30 an ounce.

Meanwhile, investors will continue to focus on another heavy slate of fourth-quarter earnings next week, particularly from the U.S.

This week sees results from such heavyweights as energy services firm Halliburton, drug company Johnson & Johnson, tech company Texas Instruments, telco Verizon, corporate services firm Xerox, consumer products company Kimberly-Clark and McDonald's.

Canadian earnings tends to lag the U.S. by a few weeks, Canadian software company Open Text (TSX:OTC) reports Thursday.

On the Canadian economic calendar, Statistics Canada releases data on manufacturing shipments for November on Tuesday, November retail sales on Thursday and the December reading on inflation on Friday.

In the U.S., investors will look to homes sales data along with latest reading of the economic leading indicator — a look at where the economy is going in the next six months — on Thursday.

In Europe, Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest lender, announced a large fourth-quarter loss, largely due to weak investment banking results and the cost of strengthening its finances.

The bank posted a fourth-quarter net loss of 965 million euros, an announcement that came 10 days before it was scheduled to release its results. The figure was below analysts’ expectations. Revenues during the fourth quarter were down 16 per cent year-on-year at 6.6 billion euros.

European markets were in the red as London's FTSE 100 index slipped 0.05 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX was down 0.11 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 was off 0.11 per cent.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 sank 0.6 per cent, China’s Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.9 per cent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.2 per cent.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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